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The road to reunion, 1865-1900 

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The road to reunion, 1865-1900 

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1865 - IpOO 














WHEN the colors of the Confederacy were furled in sur- 
render at Appomattox the United States confronted a prob- 
lem new to American statecraft. For the first time in its his- 
tory the country was called upon to deal with a disaffected 
people who had aspired to independence and failed. The situa- 
tion was a perplexing one. The restored Union rested frankly 
upon force. The North was arrogant in victory and inclined 
to be assertive in the realization of newly found power. The 
South lay spent and exhausted, yet ready to offer stolid re- 
sistance to the unfriendly gestures of its assailant. Certainly he 
who essayed to rejoin the disrupted fabric of national life 
would learn in full measure how strong and unyielding is the 
hatred of brothers. 

Victors in a civil strife are prone to consider themselves 
as constituting the nation. The defeated tend as readily to 
resent the implied inferiority of their humiliating position. 
The misunderstanding of the Reconstruction period arose nat- 
urally from these conditions. For twelve years the North en- 
deavored to build a policy upon force. The South in resistance 
rejected good and bad indiscriminately. In the process the 
sectional division persisted and perhaps intensified. 

And yet the central theme of American life after the war, 
even in the years of political radicalism, is not to be found 
in a narrative of sectional divergence. It was national integra- 
tion which triumphed at Appomattox. It was national integra- 
tion which marked every important development in the years 
that followed. The period of Reconstruction, as usually defined, 
it is true, gave rise to an abnormal political condition which 
in its divisive influence ran counter to the basic theme. But 


political Reconstruction was not fundamental. Seemingly re- 
gardless of the political clamor that so filled the public ear, 
the formation of American character continued. The sturdy 
barriers of sectional antipathy and distrust crumbled one by 
one. Not all the misunderstanding disappeared. And certainly 
as should be expected the normal differences in economic and 
sociological regionalism persisted and will persist. But within 
a generation after the close of the Civil War the particular- 
istic aspirations of North and South had lost their bitter edge 
and an American nationalism existed which derived its ele- 
ments indiscriminately from both the erstwhile foes. A union 
of sentiment based upon integrated interests had become a 

This speedy reconciliation was a striking illustration of the 
dynamic force exerted by nationalism in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury. There had been a distinctive American character as early 
as dwellers in a new world had interests and ways of looking 
at things peculiar to themselves. It had developed rapidly in 
the common work of the Revolution until the Constitution of 
1787 gave it perfected form by establishing an effective central 
government. But no sooner had the early republic entered 
upon its career than the bases of national life shifted pro- 
foundly. The energies of new forces found an easy lodgment 
in the fluid state of an unformed society and made of America 
a laboratory of contending currents. In time the pattern of a 
new and stronger nationalism emerged. 

It was in the North that the potent influence of this new 
agency was first introduced. There it was that the common 
man came earliest into his own, where means of transporta- 
tion were more revolutionized and communication of ideas 
facilitated, where immigration left a greater non-English ele- 
ment in the population, where industry was transformed and 
cities grew to mammoth size, where the scientific and humani- 
tarian thought of the new century made provincials susceptible 
to world influences, where the older and stabler trilogy of 
aristocracy, decentralization, and agriculture were sacrificed 
to the newer and more experimental trilogy of democracy, 
nationalism, and industrialism, where in short the centripetal 
process triumphed in producing a united society conscious of 



its kinship. The North was on the march toward new and 
yet untested objectives. 

One might also find considerable sentiment for the nation 
in the South on the eve of the Civil War. There, too, men 
took pride in recalling the common traditions of the past. 
Southerners had taken a major role in the winning of inde- 
pendence and the framing of the Constitution. For the greater 
portion of the period from 1789 to 1860 it was the South 
which controlled the government at Washington and directed 
the national destinies. But meanwhile the transformation of 
Northern society was being paralleled by a peculiar develop- 
ment in the South. The slave plantation system drew the cot- 
ton states apart until men in 1860 rightly spoke of a distinct 
Southern nationality. The Southern trend, it must be empha- 
sized, was truer to the older traits of American character 
than was the Northern revolution, although both were tending 
toward new creations. Patriotism of locality, loyalty to agri- 
culture and to an aristocratic structure of society, and ad- 
herence to stability in folkways were imperative concomitants 
of a slave society. 

'.Here then was rivalry. Out of common Americanism had 
developed divergent nationalisms. When Lincoln's election 
gave evidence that the social organization of the North was 
winning a permanent victory in the race for supremacy within 
the Union the minority read aright the future. Outside alone 
would it be possible, if possible there, to create a Southern 

The not inhumane institution of slavery both made and de- 
stroyed the hope of Southern nationalism. Certainly it was 
the most formidable barrier that the developing American 
nationalism had to overcome. In fostering a society peculiar 
to its own economy it had sheltered the South from influences 
which had revolutionized life in the North, and, in fact, in 
the European world at large. In this sense alone can the South 
be said to have been retarded in its development. The com- 
mon man with whom seemed to rest the future was, in the 
South of slavery, largely a "forgotten man" and the vast re- 
sources of the South were in the main left unexploited. But 
much as large areas of the ante-bellum South seemed waiting 


to be aroused from a lethargy of undevelopment, society was 
far from being static. The "slave power" was dynamic in its 
growth and held the section united in its defense. That the 
system was essentially unsound and outworn should not dis- 
guise the fact that for a brief space of time it shaped the 
course of Southern nationalism. But its disharmony with con- 
ditions in the world at large gave to the Southern cause the 
forlorn appearance of an heroic people endeavoring to check 
the inevitable sweep of the century. The elements in Southern 
life which a later generation has learned to respect might have 
had a chance to survive by themselves, but intertwined as they 
were in slavery the entire cause seemed destined to defeat. 

The Civil War brought an end to Southern dreams of in- 
dependence. The system which had built a society was com- 
pletely destroyed and lay in ruins. Over all stalked the spirit 
of the triumphant North. Yet what had won? Did the out- 
come mean that the Northern pattern of nationalism was to 
be the Americanism of the future to which the South must 
conform? To an extent this was true, for with the Northern 
troops came also the revolutionary forces which had remade 
and were remaking Northern life. But the old problem of har- 
monizing the rival structures of the two societies remained. 
Much in Southern life was far too stubborn and far too vital, 
if not too valuable, to disappear. In time the nationalism that 
emerged was a mixture in which victors and vanquished alike 
were subjugated to a common amalgam which was not com- 
pletely the choice or the will of either, but to which both had 
learned to conform in common patriotism. 
^The history of how two bitter foes were reconciled, two 
rival societies harmonized, therefore, leads to the core of 
American life since the Civil War. The task of tracing and 
evaluating the various influences which bear upon the theme 
is not an easy one. Virtually every activity of the American 
people in the years between 1865 and 1900 left some mark 
great or small, which must be deciphered and appraised, fit 
has been my endeavor to describe and correlate the many 
themes, political, social, economic, cultural, and emotional, 
which figured in the complexity of postwar life. 

Consequently the materials used in the preparation of this 



work were both comprehensive and extensive. My complete 
bibliography included sixteen hundred items of manuscripts, 
Federal and State documents, newspapers, periodical articles, 
published books, and pamphlets. Because I have been chiefly 
interested in giving to the reader a clear account of the narra- 
tive of reconciliation I have reduced to a minimum the appa- 
ratus of scholarship. Notes have been used only to indicate 
the variety of materials and to establish responsibility for 
conclusions that may possibly be disputed. 

Many friends, North and South, have made valuable sug- 
gestions and given me aid in the course of my researches. 
Specifically I wish to thank Professor Frederick Merk and 
Mr. Bernard De Voto for reading and criticizing the manu- 
script. I am indebted to Mr. Donald Born for substantial 
help in reading the proofs. I owe much to courteous assistance 
given me by the officers of the following libraries : the Har- 
vard College Library, the Charleston (S. C.) Public Library, 
the State Libraries of Virginia, North Carolina, South Caro- 
lina, and Georgia, the New York Public Library, and the 
Library of Congress. 

Above all I wish to express my gratitude to Professor 
Arthur Meier Schlesinger, without whose constant criticism 
and stimulating advice this book would not have been pos- 












ITICS 263 


You 283 


INDEX 309 




JOHN ANDERSON had fought with Grant at Shiloh and later had 
marched with Sherman's bummers. All parts of the South he 
had seen. He thought mostly of his feet, being a veteran, how 
they had been coated with the dust of Kentucky, soaked in the 
muddy lowlands along the Mississippi, and colored with the red 
clay of Georgia. He remembered the Tennessee family of 
friendly enemies who had found him ill and had nursed him back 
to health. But also he recalled how it had felt in the Carolinas 
to have people with tired and worn expressions on their faces 
look at him with dread and repugnance. Even the triumphal 
march down Pennsylvania Avenue had seemed empty after 

But now he was home. Home to John Anderson was a farm 
which nestled safely in the pleasant hills of Southern Ohio with 
Paint Creek running placidly nearby. He sat evenings smoking 
on his porch, thinking that he wanted nothing more than to 
spend the remainder of his life watching the orderly way in 
which season followed season, crops were planted, grew, and 
were harvested. He would like to grow old in that routine with 
his wife and growing children around him. True he would like 
occasionally to indulge in reminiscences about those four ro- 
mantic years which contained all the great hardships and great 
adventures his life would know. But he wanted his memories 
to mellow dreamlike and not come surging forth in tragic 
nightmares. He was the Northern veteran and for him the Civil 
War was over. 

Yet as he thought of that April in 1865 he could not escape 
a sense of elation. It had been a victor's peace. Something had 
been won, something which had cost more than three hundred 
and fifty thousand lives, great treasure, and four years of anxi- 


ety ; something, therefore, to be guarded in the future. A per- 
sistent undertone of stern determination had crept unconsciously 
into his song of rejoicing. He had not intended to phrase the 
hallelujahs of Julia Ward Howe's stirring anthem other than 
as an expression of thanksgiving. Yet they had sounded as a 
fateful augury of a crusade still incomplete. And when he had 
joined boisterously in the refrain, ' 'We'll hang Jeff Davis on a 
sour apple tree/' it had seemed as though he had been carried 
beyond himself into a wild demand for vengeance. 

Nevertheless John Anderson normally was not much con- 
cerned with the fruits of victory. To him the finest fruit would 
be the quiet enjoyment of his farm. Not all, however, were like 
John Anderson. Many not having fought as he had fought, still 
felt an unexpressed hatred in them seeking an outlet. Some were 
more ambitious than he and realized that even John Anderson 
had certain apprehensions which might be exploited until ends 
were reached which were not altogether what Anderson might 
desire. Some again were better bargainers and believed a thing 
so dearly purchased should be made the most of. And still 
others were unfortunately more righteous than he. The God 
who had presided over the tribunal of arms had given a man- 
date to his chosen ones which it would be sinful to disobey. And 
consequently those who in times of war had been less heroic 
than John Anderson, those who had selfish ends in view, and 
those who sought the reformation of a Southern society which 
Anderson had not altogether disliked, came to him and told 
him that he must fight on and on. 

As the last winter of the Civil War was drawing to a close 
and the promise of victory grew momentarily brighter, the 
Northern public began to speculate as to the sequel of the bitter 
conflict. For the first time it occurred to some that the hostility 
which existed between the sections would be an embarrassment 
if not a danger now that it was about to be decreed the two must 
live together in one union. The Civil War like all modern wars 
had been waged as much by propaganda as by armies in the field. 
The morale of each section had been maintained largely by em- 
phasizing the so-styled irrepressible antagonisms of the respec- 
tive rivals. As a consequence the war had left not only the ne- 


cessity of rebuilding an exhausted and impoverished South, but 
also the unfamiliar task of reforming habits of thought that had 
been fixed in strife. 

The ending of hostilities gave birth to great emotions in the 
North. It was a period of abnormal adjustment in which rational 
conduct could not be premised. The drums beat and the flags 
waved as long files of blue-clad veterans marched in triumph 
through the streets of Northern cities on their return to civilian 
life. Beneath the rejoicing lay an ill-concealed eagerness to re- 
sume the interrupted course of private concerns. Civilians as 
well as soldiers were prone to turn aside from the suffering of 
the past. The discipline and trials of war pressed too heavily 
upon the memory to permit of unrelieved joy. To the end of the 
decade there persisted an aversion toward all that related to the 
struggle, making unwelcome "everything that brought back 
those days and nights of suffering and anxiety." Editors suiting 
their columns to the public taste, and publishers with an eye to 
the market, offered little encouragement to the few writers who 
in these early months and years sought to use the war as a fic- 
tional background. An emotion-wearied public reacted against 
that which recalled the tragedy of war. 

Lincoln wa.s among the first to appreciate the necessity of 
removing the war psychosis. In the cabinet meeting of April 14, 
1865, he uttered the well remembered words, "We must ex- 
tinguish our resentments if we expect harmony and union." 
Both Lincoln and his successor in the presidency, Andrew John- 
son, believed that if the heart of the North could be reached 
there would be found a desire to be magnanimous to the defeated 
South. Possibly the majority of Northerners would not go so 
far as Johnson in welcoming the Southerners as '"our brethren," 
but he was not alone when he asserted, "I do not want them to 
come back into this Union a degraded and debased people." To 
hold that the Presidents misread the popular attitude in assum- 
ing a desire for leniency is saying that Lincoln and Johnson had 
now lost the uncanny faculty of instinctively sharing the inner- 
most aspirations of their constituents which had so marked both 
their careers. 

As a matter of record the two leaders were not unsupported. 
Behind them there existed a far-reaching if inchoate public 


opinion seeking surcease from continued strife. Partly it arose 
from the soldiers, who, having done their job, entertained little 
patience with the politician who showed a propensity for endless 
conflict. 1 Partly it came from men like Governor John Andrew, 
of Massachusetts, who, having worked effectively for the cause 
of union during the war, now felt that charity to the South would 
best serve the same cause in time of peace. 2 There were business 
men urging, like the leading business journal of the day, The 
Commercial and Financial Chronicle, a policy of rapid concilia- 
tion as the most efficacious means of restoring trade between 
the sections. 3 A group of clergymen, notably Henry Ward 
Beecher and the young Washington Gladden, advised forgive- 
ness and gentleness. 4 Nor should it be forgotten that the con- 
servatives of the fifties, men like Robert C. Winthrop, while 
nolbnger active in politics, were for the most part quietly in sup- 
port of a good will program. 6 Even some of the later radicals 
had not yet hardened their hearts, as is indicated by Senator 
Henry Wilson writing to a colleague, "I do not consider it either 
generous, manly, or Christian, to nourish or cherish or express 
feelings of wrath or hatred toward them" of the South. 6 
Finally among intellectuals one could find the belief that the 
country's salvation depended upon an attitude of leniency 
toward the South. 7 

But wars are not discarded as easily as an outworn garment. 
When Governor Andrew declared after Lee's surrender that 
"there ought now to be a vigorous prosecution of the Peace, 
just as vigorous as our recent prosecution of the war/' 
he was perhaps appreciating the tremendous difficulties in the 
way of a policy of magnanimity. The North, as one Southerner 

1 Well exemplified by General W. T. Sherman, Rachel Sherman Thorn- 
dike (ed.), "The Sherman Letters" (New York, 1894), 247, 262, 295. 

^Sumner Mss. (Harvard College Library) ; John A. Andrew, Valedictory 
Address, January 4, 1866 (Boston, 1866). 

3 Commercial and Financial Chronicle (New York), July 29, Sept. 23, and 
Dec. 9, 1865; Hunt's Merchants' Magazine (New York), LIII (1865), 134- 

4 Henry Ward Beecher, Conditions of a Restored Union, a sermon preached 
in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, Oct. 29, 1865 ; Washington Gladden, "Recol- 
lections" (Boston, 1909), 146-156. 

6 Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., "Memoir of Robert C. Winthrop," 269, 287. 
6 Letter to Senator Nye, published in the American Historical Review, 
XV (1910), 574. 

7 W. C. Ford, "Letters of Henry Adams" (Boston, 1930), II, 284. 


was disconsolately to observe, seemed mastered by "some mys- 
terious spell" which silenced her better impulses. Magnanimous 
as the majority of Northerners might well have wished to be 
in the spring months of 1865, the war itself had left con- 
flicting emotions to block the free expression of leniency. 

Basic was the all pervading sense of responsibility arising 
from the tremendous sacrifices of wartime. The exulting 
"Glory, Glory, Hallelujah," of the triumph song passed 
quickly into grim appreciation of the half million lives and 
the three billion dollars the war had cost. 8 The period of re- 
joicing was brief. The mind harked back to the graves of 
"the patriot hosts that had fallen on fearful battle fields," and 
the query on every lip was, in the Lincolnian phrase, have these 
honored dead died in vain ? 9 Apprehension came with victory. 
"From fearful trip the victor's ship comes in with object won," 
wrote the poet Whitman, not realizing that the safeguarding 
of the "object won" was to be a venture as arduous as that by 
which it had been gained. 

A young Frenchman sojourning in the United States, him- 
self destined in later years to fight ardently, if not vindictively, 
to garner the fruits of an even greater struggle, saw the reac- 
tion as a simple phenomenon. "When anyone," wrote Clemen- 
ceau, "has for four successive years joined in such a struggle 
as that which the United States has seen, one thing stands 
out to which a man clings all the more in proportion as he 
is ready to forget personal animosities, and that is his desire 
not to lose the dearly bought fruits of so many personal sac- 
r rifices. When the war ended, the North was concerned not to 
let itself be tricked out of what it had spent so much trouble 
and perseverance to win." 10 To the same effect the moderate 
Winthrop observed in midsummer 1865 that his New England 
neighbors were "full of apprehension" that the Union was to 
be restored too soon, and that the Southern states were about to 
reorganize themselves upon their old principles. 11 

8 Actually a contemporary over-statement, Atlantic Monthly (Boston), 
XVII (1865), 238-247- 

9 See as typical, John T. Trowbridge, "The South" (Hartford, 1866), 143. 

10 Georges Glemenceau, "American Reconstruction, 1865-1870" (New 
York, 1928), 296. 

11 Letter, quoted in "Memoir," 268. 


This was the first step in the process that transformed mag- 
nanimity into vindictiveness. The fruits of victory must be 
preserved a sobering and disquieting assumption. No treaty 
of peace ended the Civil War, defining in clearly worded 
articles the rewards of victory and the penalties of defeat. 
The defeated were brought back within the Union to share 
as Americans in the enjoyment of the fruits of victory. At 
most the erstwhile Confederates could be kept only tempo- 
rarily in a state of probation. Eventually, unless the American 
system of government were to be radically altered, the day 
must come when the results of the Civil War should in part 
be entrusted to those who had been inimical to the very ex- 
istence of the Union. Consequently those who had won the 
war came to feel as one of them wrote, "the war will not be 
over until we have secured the safety for which we fought." 
Not until after "we have absolutely established our ideas," 
affirmed a second, "which must pervade and be incorporated 
into their system of public policy," could the nation turn it- 
self to healing the wounds of war. The "magnanimous" peace 
<was thus converted into the "just" peace, which when unilat- 
erally applied is mere euphony for a "'Victor's" peace. 

The problem was made more perplexing by the lack of 
unanimity in defining both why the war had been fought and 
what should be the terms of settlement. All the disputes of 
a conference of peace were multiplied a thousand fold when 
the settlement of the Civil War was precipitated out of the 
hands of Congress and thence into the arena of public opinion 
at large. Into the prolonged discussion there came every range 
of emotion, every political interest in the nation, religion, busi- 
ness, the welfare of the Negro, apparently every source of 
cantankerous rivalry the nation could produce. Well-meaning 
people of generous impulses were again made partisans, and 
hardened their hearts to play the role of even if somewhat 
grim justice. 

But what were the fruits of victory? AH recognized three 
general positions as logical consequences of the war. First, 
the doctrine of secession was renounced and the Union was 
recognized, in Webster's phrase, to be one and indissoluble. 
Secondly, the institution of slavery was forever destroyed. 


And thirdly, it was more or less tacitly recognized that the 
prewar leadership of the Southern slavocrat in national politics 
was permanently to be replaced in favor of Northern direc- 
tion. But each of these general positions had in itself logi- 
cal consequences, and it was in the unraveling that disputes 

The Union was preserved, but how could the tension and 
conflict within the Union be removed? The Negro was a free- 
man, but what was necessary to safeguard him in his new 
estate and to whom was the safeguarding to be entrusted? 
The Southern oligarchy had been overthrown, but how could 
the destruction be made complete and what was to take its 
place? These were not easy questions as they cut through so 
many old established ways of thought and activity. Yet a so- 
ciety accustomed to the discipline of wartime action and prod- 
ded by deep-seated apprehension might move impulsively to 
ends which would require a generation of adaptation in more 
normal times. "Half the North/' wrote one who favored a 
policy of leniency, "is persuaded that you [Southerners] have 
the power to jockey them out of what cost them so dear." 
Many had learned to distrust halfway measures - "the spirit 
of compromise which plunged the United States [so it was 
held] step by step into the Civil War." Moderation, it was 
argued, "will once again obscure the issues, veiling the ap- 
pearance of the danger spots until they grow deep and ineradi- 
cable." The Northerner, jealous of the fruits of victory, came 
easily to reason that inasmuch as the South was now prostrate 
here was the opportunity for a radical operation. All the half- 
way cures could be discarded. Doctor Compromise had been a 
quack. The knife with its clean penetrating cut would do a 
better job The cancers in the South (and how well the North 
knew those cancers were in the South!), the cancers which 
had long vexed the body politic, could now be removed. It 
was an attractive prospect for a war-trained generation that 
had been taught to believe in thorough measures. The emo- 
tional relief, for it was basically that, with which large num- 
bers of Northerners turned to the twin solution of the radi- 
cals the enfranchisement of the Negro and the mortgaging 
of the nation's future to the Republican party is evidence 


of the widespread neurosis of a people who had emerged 
from war. 

To accept such a program the North must necessarily sub- 
scribe to an orthodox interpretation of war guilt. A man 
could exclaim "Let justice be our only retribution/' only if 
he entertained no doubts as to the correctness of his position. 
Clemenceau, always to be trusted to mirror the advancing 
views of the radicals, likewise affirmed that "any postponement 
of justice is postponement of peace/' 12 

God's hand was seen in the outcome. Nothing had been 
commoner in both sections than references to the war as a 
grand arbitrament of the deity. Lincoln had done much to 
popularize the mechanistic view of the struggle as one in 
which human pawns worked out the implacable will of a 
righteous God. Behind the lyric beauty of his inaugurals, the 
Gettysburg Address, and his other wartime utterances, is the 
calm philosophy that God is willing this tragic tribulation to 
make right triumph on the earth. Whatever solace Lincoln 
derived from this conception unquestionably contributed to 
sustaining him through his arduous trial. It cannot be neglected, 
however, that he with others was implanting in his people a 
smug assumption that they had been chosen as God's agents 
first in overthrowing and then in chastising an iniquitous op- 
ponent. The gentle Lincoln had no suspicion of becoming an- 
other Cromwell. He merely saw God's hand in the conflict. 
But his people took the added step and visioned themselves as 
a new Ironsides, the instrumentality for the application of stern 
policy cloaked as God's directing and righteous will. 

The idea appealed strongly to a religious age. The people 

were ingrained with the conception, approximating fatalism, 

that the divine intention explained all the mysteries of life. 

/%Tien victory came, not superior force but God's will had 

made right triumph over evil. Paeans of praise were sung to 

12 Clemenceau, "American Reconstruction/' 84. Samplings of Northern 
opinion are best found in newspapers like the Boston Daily Advertiser, the 
Chicago Tribune, the New York Herald, the New York Times, and the 
New York Tribune; from weeklies like Harper's Weekly Magazine (New 
York), IX (1865), and the Nation (New York), I (1865); and from 
periodicals like the Atlantic Monthly (Boston), XVI (1865), Harper's 
Monthly Magazine (New York), XXX (1865), and the North American 
Review (New York), C (1865). 


a God as exclusively a Northern God as the God of the He- 
brews had been a Hebrew God. "We thank Thee, O God/' 
prayed the eloquent Phillips Brooks in a thanksgiving service 
for the capture of Richmond, "for the power of Thy right 
arm which has broken for us a way, and set the banners of 
our Union in the central city of treason and rebellion. We 
thank Thee for the triumph of right over wrong. We thank 
Thee for the loyal soldiers planted in the streets of wicked- 
ness. We thank Thee for the wisdom and bravery and devo- 
tion which Thou hast anointed for Thy work and crowned 
with glorious victory. . . . Thou hast led us, O God, by won- 
drous ways. . . . And now, O God, we pray Thee to com- 
plete Thy work/' 13 

God had still another reminder that His work was not yet 
complete. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln at the very 
moment of national rejoicing was interpreted generally as a 
divine caution. Lincoln had been known to advocate a policy 
of tenderness to the defeated "Rebels." Those who had rest- 
lessly chafed under his moderation, compromising opportunism, 
and gentle conservatism during the war itself, now welcomed 
the freedom his removal gave to emotional unrestraint. "Was/' 
queried the Boston Journal in an editorial on April 15, "the 
loyal country in danger of losing sight of this [Southern] 
cancer of wickedness and becoming disposed, out of regard 
to the cheering future, to heal it over with misjudged leniency ?" 
A "merciful God" had let fall this awful blow on "docile 
hearts" to teach His purpose and to cause obedience to His 

The tragedy consisted largely in that it further directed the 
Northern postwar neurosis into radical outlets. It appeared 
to the Cincinnati Daily Gazette that the "olive branchers" were 
routed and "stones" not "grass" were to be thrown at the 
defeated "rebels" who lived to see Lincoln dead. Deep into 
rustic Concord the impression penetrated and Emerson con- 
fided to his journal: "And what if it should turn out in the 
unfolding of the web, that he [Lincoln] had reached the 
term; that the heroic deliverer could no longer serve us; that 

18 A. V. G. Allen, "Life and Letters of Phillips Brooks" (New York, 
1900), I, 531- 


the rebellion had touched its natural conclusion, and what 
remained to be done required new and uncommitted hands?" 
Actually there was no question in the philosopher's mind, 
for a week earlier he had asserted, " Tis far the best that 
the rebels be pounded into a peace," and expressed fear that 
Grant's "easy" terms of surrender to Lee might soften "the 
high tragic justice which the nation should execute." 14 It re- 
mained for Booth's unhappy bullet to make God a part of the 
Emersonian logic. 

It so happened in this "unfolding web" of history that be- 
cause Lincoln was shot on Good Friday and died on Saturday 
morning, the clergymen in Sunday sermons had first oppor- 
tunity to express and mold public opinion, and the news- 
papers on Monday, in widely spreading the preachers' gospel, 
let themselves be guided by the men of God. 15 It was Easter 
Sunday the sermons were preached, the great feast day of the 
Christian calendar. Never did pulpits consecrated to the Prince 
of Peace take on grimmer aspect than on this Easter Day of 
1865. Not the Christ of sacrifice and forgiveness but the God 
of righteousness and vengeance was preached to a saddened 
people. In the great church of the Trinity in New York City 
the Reverend Doctor Vincent assured his congregation that 
the martyred President had been "unfitted, by the natural 
gentleness and humanity of his disposition to execute the 
stern justice of Christ's vicegerent." For Christ's vicegerent, 
the President of the United States, was "to hew the rebels in 
pieces before the Lord," and cast them out of the Kingdom of 
God. "So let us say, God's will be done." Uptown in the Madi- 
son Avenue Presbyterian Church, the Reverend Doctor Wil- 
liam Adams was reviewing the "atrocities" perpetrated during 
the war by the "barbarous spirit of slavery" so as to convince 

14 E. W, Emerson and W. E. Forbes, "Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson" 
(Boston, 1914), X, 93; Emerson, "Miscellanies," 313-314. 

15 Virtually every Northern newspaper between the i;th and 20th of April 
devoted much space to reporting the sermons. I have scrutinized the news- 
papers of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York, 
and Philadelphia. I have also read a large number of the sermons in pam- 
phlet form. Some of these reveal what was preached in the smaller cities and 
villages. The New York sermons from which I quote in the text are reported 
in the New York Herald, April 17 ; the Cincinnati sermon in the Cincinnati 
Gazette, April 20. 


his flock that the South must be punished. In Cincinnati the 
lesson was the same. "We faltered with God's eternal laws of 
retribution/' a Baptist clergyman asserted. "We thought we 
might be more merciful than God. . . . We seemed to feel 
that we had a right to show our fellowship of philanthropy, 
even at the expense of fidelity to the demands of God." So 
throughout the North the general trend was as summarized in 
the National Anti-Slavery Standard, "We believe that this cruel 
calamity will be blest by a sterner line of treatment of the 
slaveholding rebels than the humane and generous heart of 
Lincoln liked to present." 

Not all the clergymen shared the extreme views of the 
majority. In the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Patrick in 
New York City Archbishop McClosky reminded his people of 
"the sentiments of mercy and conciliation that so filled the 
heart" of Lincoln, and prayed that they would continue to 
actuate and guide the nation through the desperate crisis the 
assassination had precipitated. So also Washington Gladden 
was touched by grief that permitted no thought of vengeance, 
and wisely cautioned his congregation that "stern and severe 
measures, instead of preventing the repetition of such acts, 
will have a tendency to multiply them." 

The great body of Northern clergymen passed through the 
experience to a result disastrous to any hope of reconciliation. 
The defeat of the South came more than ever to signify a 
moral victory. The ability to understand, much less to sym- 
pathize, with the problems of Southern life grew more Im- 
possible. The feeling that a moral crusade for the regenera- 
tion of "rebeldom" was necessary became henceforth a fixed 
article in the creed of the Northern churches. The lenient 
element of religious men, as Gladden and Lyman Abbot sadly 
confessed, was silenced. "Seeds of distrust and ill will were 
widely and deeply sown." 16 

So grew and became transcendent the belief in the righteous- 
ness of a thorough policy. Lyman Abbott could despairingly 
wish that the words "right" and "wrong" be erased from our 
political vocabulary. They stood in uncompromising starkness, 

16 Gladden, "Recollections," 156; Lyman Abbott, "Reminiscences" (Bos- 
ton, 1915), 180. 


And for a moment, the most critical of all, the voice of char- 
ity was unheard while the cry of vengeance rose unchallenged. 
Adding to its increasing volume came the politician. In words 
that penetrated the bedrock of national hatred, the tempo- 
rarily unbalanced Johnson vehemently shouted upon his ac- 
cession to the presidency, "I hold that robbery is a crime; 
rape is a crime ; murder is a crime ; treason is a crime and crime 
must be punished. Treason must be made infamous, and 
traitors must be impoverished." So likewise John Sherman, 
Senator from Ohio, hardened into radicalism. "We should not 
only brand the leading rebels with infamy, but the whole re- 
bellion should wear the badge of the penitentiary, so that for 
this generation at least, no man who has taken part in it 
would dare to justify or palliate it." As a consequence there 
arose a determined cry of the pack for the punishment of the 
Confederate leaders. It must be shown that "treason leaves a 
stain." Julian, in Indianapolis, was among those who de- 
manded that Jefferson Davis be hanged "in the name of 
God." 17 

The temper of the North in this respect was clearly revealed 
by an incident of late summer of 1865. The great hero of the 
South, Robert E. Lee, was chosen by the trustees of Wash- 
ington College president of that institution. The appointment 
was received with universal satisfaction throughout the South, 
and Lee entered the office in a spirit highly conducive to the 
best interests of the reunited country. But throughout the 
North it appeared as though the South in general and Lee in 
particular were guilty of an unpardonable offense. Godkin in 
the Nation put it mildly when he asserted that Lee was unfit 
to train the youth of Virginia. 18 Again, because of the abnormal 
state of nerves, the extremists set the pitch, and Wendell 
Phillips came nearest to expressing the uncontrolled judg- 
ment of the North, "If Lee is fit to be president of a college, 

17 For typical comment by politicians see George W. Julian, "Speeches 
on Political Questions" (New York, 1872), 262-290, and "Political Recollec- 
tions, 1840-1872" (Chicago, 1884), 257; F. Moore, "Speeches of Andrew 
Johnson" (Boston, 1866), 470-479; G. C. Gorham, "Life and Public Services 
of Edwin M. Stanton" (Boston, 1872), II, 195; John Sherman, "Recollec- 
tions" (Chicago, 1895), I, 355. 

18 Nation, Sept. 14, 1865. 


then for Heaven's sake pardon Wirz and make him professor 
of what the Scots call the humanities/' 19 

The seed that had been planted produced its harvest. In the 
Antietam cemetery it was an issue whether Confederate dead 
deserved decent burial. Sanitary considerations ended the dis- 
cussion by compelling interment of "skeletons, rooted up by 
hogs, and blanching in the open fields." 20 So also when Memo- 
rial Day was observed in Arlington Cemetery the hatred of 
righteousness was in command. Soldiers in Federal blue were 
stationed around the graves of Confederate dead to prevent 
flowers being placed upon them. "Treason must be made in- 

The nerves of the North were nerves that had borne too 
heavy a strain. And still they were being burdened by complex 
emotional loads. Given such a situation a radical reaction was 
almost certain. What other legacy could a Civil War bequeath ? 
It had aroused hatreds. It had closed the mental processes of 
the people and enthroned prejudice in the place of reason. 
"Our hearts were touched with fire," wrote a thoughtful vet- 
eran of the conflict. 21 A fire, indeed, had burnt out the softer 
element of mercy and forged a rod of steel. The radically in- 
tentioned well knew how to apply the rod thus shaped. But 
whatever motivated the radicals, and in a sense they were only 
the sickest of the nerve-shot age, they could never have marched 
to triumph in 1866 and 1867 had it not been for the emotional 
conflicts that prevented a normal reaction among the mass of 

The misunderstanding and distrust engendered in the war 
lived on in part because the reporting of .Southern conditions 
to the Northern reading public continued bad. It is possible 
to explain this reporting largely in terms of. directed propa- 
ganda on the part of radical Republicans. Unquestionably the 
North was flooded with speeches unfavorably describing con- 
ditions in the South; men like Carl Schurz were sent South 

19 Ibid., Nov. 2, 1865. Henry Wirz, Confederate commander of Anderson- 
ville Prison, had been condemned by a military court for alleged brutalities to 
Union prisoners and was awaiting execution. 

20 Trowbridge, "The South," 55- 

21 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., "Dead Yet Living" (Boston, 1884), 11-12, 
pamphlet reprinted from the Boston Advertiser. 


especially to bring back inspired reports ; and Northern news- 
papers were supplied with an endless source of "news articles" 
illustrating Southern recalcitrance. All this, be it remem- 
bered, was in part countered by the propaganda activity of 
conservatives and Democrats. What needs to be pointed out 
is that, had there been no villain in the plot seeking to cap- 
italize for party advantage the unfortunate state of sectional 
relation, the result would have been much the same. Again 
it was the peculiar postwar conditions which delivered the 
situation into radical hands. The North had a natural appe- 
tite for news from the South. The newspapers in wartime 
had developed a new journalism of special articles prepared 
by a new type of trained correspondents. The correspondents 
were now available to enter the heart of the opened territory 
of the Confederacy and the reading public eagerly awaited their 
descriptions of the people and the places that had been so prom- 
inent in the news of war years. The South itself did nothing, 
possibly could do nothing to assist in shaping the publicity so 
vitally affecting its welfare. The North had only Northerners 
to do the reporting. And these men possessed in common with 
their reading public the biased views in regard to the South 
that had been shaped in time of war. The result was inevitable. 
The predilections of the North in regard to the South were 
strengthened, and again the consequence was increased mis- 

It would be gratuitous to seek hidden and possibly villainous 
motives beneath the work of the majority of these Northern 
-reporters. Sidney Andrews, special correspondent for the Chi- 
cago Tribune and the Boston Advertiser, and possibly the 
ablest Northerner to report Southern conditions in 1865 and 
1866, was a gentleman with the highest professional stand- 
ards governing his work. His book, "The South since the 
War," however, based as it was upon the honest observation 
of an intelligent man, was pronouncedly anti-Southern in ef- 
fect, Andrews conceived of the South as a PROBLEM, and 
distrusted any share the white South might be given in the 
solution of it. As if drawn "by magnetic force the took reached 
every issue that inflamed the day and always presented the 
Northern view with little capacity for seeing the other side. 


The fundamental implications of a society in process of rev- 
olution were not understood, and sympathy with the people 
forced to undergo what Southerners were undergoing was 
completely absent. Especially did Andrews measure certain 
deep-rooted resentments of the North against the South. Not 
least important among the factors which rankled in the North- 
ern psychology was the oft repeated Southern boast of a civi- 
lization superior to the North. Andrews had heard "a great 
deal about the superior civilization of the South." Perhaps his 
reaction was only a natural one, and one which his reading 
public in the North would readily applaud. He collected evi- 
dence of as much of the unfavorable aspects of Southern life 
as he could to reach the conclusion that Southern civilization 
was in reality "Southern barbarism." 

The book which best measured the mental content of the 
ordinary Northerner was possibly J. T. Trowbridge's 'The 
South/' which was published in 1866, the result of two trips 
in eight of the Confederate states during the summer of 1865 
and the winter of 1865-1866. Trowbridge had done his share 
in maintaining Northern morale during the war by writing 
popular war novels, most notable of which was "Cudjo's Cave." 
His reporting is certainly not the most accurate or the most 
trustworthy. His significance is quite otherwise. He shared 
the opinions and the emotions of a wide reading public, giving 
to his readers a language they understood because it was their 
own. His narrative in addition was interesting and effective. 

Apparently Trowbridge went South much as Herodotus 
went to the Persians. He sought out the battlefields and he saw 
the ruined cities. He talked with the officers and the soldiers 
and conversed "with all sorts of people from high state officials 
to low down whites and negroes." He sought "correct impres- 
sions of the country, of its inhabitants, of the great contest 
of arms just closed, and [significantly] of the still greater con- 
test of principles not yet terminated." He planned a record 
built upon facts free from fictitious coloring and an under- 
standing based upon the "broad grounds of Truth and Eternal 

The book has a central theme, vigorously and effectively 
presented, and that theme is that the South was barbarous. The 


"spirit of slavery" had debased the Southern mind, destroyed 
liberty and law, and vitiated all white elements upon which a 
restored union might be erected. The men who had been active 
in the Confederacy could not be trusted. Their loyalty was 
"simply disloyalty subdued." They acquiesced in what they 
could not alter, but their aims, which "command the sympathy 
of the Southern people," were "to obtain the exclusive control 
of the freedmen, and to make such laws as shall embody the 
prejudices of a late slaveholding society." Even the whites 
of the non-slaveholding class, whom Trowbridge portrayed as 
the victims of exploitation in the old regime and who would 
be, he predicted, greatly benefited by free society, could not 
at the moment be trusted as a stable foundation for society. 
They had been rendered too ignorant by slavery. The smug sense 
of superiority so prevalent in Trowbridge was sharply re- 
vealed in the language he used to describe his contact with 
a young yeoman of Virginia. "What a gulf betwixt his mind 
and mine! Sitting side by side there [on the buggy seat] we 
were as far asunder as the great globe's poles." "He was," 
Trowbridge later added in his reminiscences, "a common prod- 
uct of Southern institutions." 

There remained only the emancipated Negro, and he emerged 
as the hero of Trowbridge' s pages. He was pictured as a self- 
reliant character, eager for advancement and deserving impar- 
tial enjoyment of his "rights as a freedman." In contrast to 
him stood the white people who, "well-educated or illiterate, 
. . . detested the negroes and wished every one of them driven 
out of the State." Trowbridge concluded therefore that some 
protection on the part of the Federal government was necessary 
to the black man in his new condition. 

That the propaganda of war days, the stories of atrocities 
and the recriminations that embitter, were not to be dismissed 
is pathetically apparent in the anecdotes of sectional strife 
which are strewn through the pages of Trowbridge's book. 
The brutality of a war-barbarized society is there. Anderson- 
ville and Libby are visited and horrendously described. "You 
think of what they suffered [the prisoners at Libby], as you 
walk the pavements of the conquered capital; and something 
swells within you, which is not exultation, nor rage, nor 


grief, but a strange mingling of all these. " And still there 
persists that Northern rankling at the assumed superiority of 
Southerners. Trowbridge never forgot a conversation with 
W. G. Simms in Charleston in which the novelist had asserted 
"South Carolina, sir, was the flower of modern civilization." 
Three other reports of Southern conditions were made by 
prominent journalists in the year following the surrenders. 
Thomas W. Knox had made a creditable record as a war cor- 
respondent on the New York Herald. His book, "Camp Fire 
and Cotton Field," touched the postwar South only in its con- 
cluding chapters, where the burning topic of Northern emigra- 
tion to the South was discussed. Knox's bias was apparent in 
the caution that not until Southerners were taught that "there 
is no possible hope for them to control the national policy" 
could conciliation be accomplished. Most penetrating of all the 
journalists and most sympathetic to the Southern point of 
view was the New Englander, Benjamin C. Truman. He placed 
implicit trust in the disbanded Confederate veterans as the 
best material for worthy citizenship and as the safest basis 
for the erection of a Reconstruction policy. In his opinion the 
Negro's future would be most secure in the understanding 
and friendly hands of the former master class. "Stories and 
rumors" of Southern outrages he assailed as overdrawn. Few 
reporters spent as much time in the South as he. None had a 
better technique of investigation. But whereas other journal- 
ists presented their material in readable books, Truman's re- 
port was in the nature of an official governmental document 
of fourteen pages. In such form it was a mere bundle of con- 
clusions with none of the vivid anecdotes, personal encounters, 
or circumstantial intimacies that conveyed so effectively the 
message of his rivals. 22 Mere assurances of Southern loyalty 
and good intentions were not enough to allay the apprehensions 
of the North. Truman exerted little influence. Whitelaw Reid, 

22 Report on the Condition of the South, 39 Cong., i Sess. f Sen. Exec. 
Doc. No, 43. More directly partisan were the reports of two men not jour- 
nalists. U. S. Grant's Letter Concerning Affairs in the South, was appended 
by President Johnson to Carl Schurz's Report on the States of South Caro- 
lina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, to counteract the inspired radi- 
calism of the latter. Both are contained in J9 Cong., i Sess., Sen. Exec. Doc. 
No. 2. These two reports figured large in the partisan debate, Schurz prob- 
ably affecting a greater influence. 


on the other hand, put in his book, "After the War : a South- 
ern Tour/' all that Truman missed. 

Reid because of his later prominence in Republican ranks 
has sometimes been dismissed as one of the inspired propa- 
gandists. But Reid in 1865 was in contact with the most enter- 
prising journalism of the day. During the war an avid public 
had read his earnest and patriotic presentation of news from 
Washington and the front. Could it be expected that the same 
public would now desert him when he published his animated, 
highly circumstantial recital of experiences in the South? 
"After the War," whatever it may be as evidence in a strict 
historical sense, was a masterpiece of journalism and elevated 
Reid to the top of his profession. Reid was never dull, and 
his swift-running narrative had an answer to every question 
that the North was raising. The message he transmitted was 
that the Southern people were arrogant and defiant, still 
nursing the embers of the "rebellion" and cherishing its ashes. 

The work of these men was supplemented by the activity of 
newspapers and periodicals. During the summer and fall of 
1865 the Nation published a series of unsigned letters from 
the South written by J. R. Dennett, whose point of view ap- 
proximated that of Sidney Andrews. The New York Tribune 
and the New York Times printed significant contributions de- 
scribing conditions in the conquered area. Harper's Weekly 
took the lead among periodicals. To a large extent, especially 
in the lesser journals of the West, this material came from 
Northern sojourners in the South. As a class this group had 
aggravated conceptions of Southern failings, and was in- 
clined to urge a policy of sternness, vigilance, and repression. 
Yet being Northerners they had the ear of the North, and 
gave a tone of unrelaxing severity to Northern journalism. 

If the reporting of Southern affairs was conditioned by 
habits of thought that carried over from war, much the same 
was true of the great machinery of propaganda that had been 
used to maintain the popular morale. "The Struggles of 
Petroleum V. Nasby," for example, had begun in i86i. 23 
The letters which serially described the escapades, principles, 
and ambitions of a burlesqued "Copperhead" settled in "Con- 

23 The creation of David Ross Locke. 


federit X Roads," Kentucky, filled columns of many North- 
ern newspapers, and became in time, together with General 
Grant, the blockade, and Great Britain's refusal to recognize 
the independence of the Confederacy, a major force in win- 
ning the war. The picture of President Lincoln reading to his 
cabinet the latest "Nasby" comment is one of our popular 
traditions. "Nasby" did not stop writing when Lee surrendered. 
Nor did he lose his appeal to Northern taste. Here is no hid- 
den, invidious motivation for the rising tide of radicalism. 
"Nasby" was a wartime habit carrying on. He became one of 
the most powerful as well as vitriolic influences in making con- 
ciliation appear ridiculous. 

The great Juggernaut of propaganda ran easily into radical- 
ism because that was the line of least resistance, where war 
emotions found readiest outlet. It was indicated to President 
Johnson in October that the radicals were flooding the country 
with partisan accounts, and that it was "wrong for us to wait 
until prejudices and passions, and hate of the South, and 
avarice, and ambition shall all be joined together hand in hand, 
before wise statesmanship, magnanimity and returning affec- 
tion and loyalty can have a fair chance." 2 * But actually it was 
Johnson who was acting in the field of Reconstruction. In the 
face of growing apprehension over his moderation the radicals 
had one effective plea. Why should the process move so fast? 
Why hurry when haste might jeopardize the future? Why 
reconcile at the expense of sacrificing the security of the 
fruits of victory? 

The reaction was governed by the legacy of hatred be- 
queathed by war. What Lord Grey wrote in reference to the 
world of 1919 could be applied to the United States of 1865. 

War has stirred passion, enlisted sympathies, and aroused 
hatreds; many of the war generation have formed opinions that 
nothing will modify, and are dominated by predilections or prej- 
udices that have become an inseparable part of their lives. With 
such people mental digestion ceases to be able to assimilate any- 
thing except what nourishes convictions already formed; all else 
is rejected or resented; and new material or reflections about the 

24 Senator J. R. Doolittle to A. Johnson, Oct. 10, 1865, as quoted in 
H. K. Beale, "The Critical Year" (New York, 1930), 115. 


war are searched not for the truth, but for fuel to feed the flame 
of preconceived opinion. 25 

The men who had lived through the strife-torn years of the 
fifties into the war itself had come to believe that the normal 
condition of mankind was to be in a state of violent agita- 
tion over some fundamental question of right and wrong. It 
seemed inconceivable that men on the other side of the issue 
could be honorable or in any way capable of trust. "I remem- 
ber the thrill of horror that shook my small person/' wrote 
Maud Howe Elliott, "on hearing my father say, The Rebels 
have sent a box of live copperheads and rattlesnakes to Gov- 
ernor Andrew/ . . . On another occasion I was shocked at 
hearing of a case of clothing or bedding, infected with yellow- 
fever germs, that had been sent to Mr. Lincoln at the White 
House." 26 Children of 1863 were given novels like "Cudjo's 
Cave," bitterly partisan, "frankly designed," as its author 
later confessed, "to fire the Northern heart. . . . The most 
sensational incidents had their counterpart in the reign of 
wrath and wrong I was endeavoring to hold up to all lovers 
of the Union." 27 There was reason, then, for the balanced 
mind of Oliver Wendell Holmes, later Justice of the United 
States Supreme Court, to reflect that his generation had "been 
set apart by its experience. ... It was given us to learn at 
the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing." 2S 
. The conquered South remained the enemy of right as the 
North conceived the right. The South of so many sins the 
sin of causing the war, the sin of slavery, the sin of seeking 
the life of the Union was still a South in which the evil 
consequences of wrong exerted a baneful influence. Henry 
Ward Beecher, who considered himself a moderate, expressed 
a common belief when he wrote in April, 1865, that communities 
in which slavery had existed could not be trusted. "Its prod- 
ucts are rotten. No timber grown in its cursed soil is fit for 
the ribs of our ship of state or for our household homes. The 
people are selfish . . . brittle, and whoever leans on them for 

25 Lord Grey, "Twenty Five Years" (London, 1925), introduction, xv-xvi. 

26 Maud Howe Elliott, "Three Generations" (Boston, 1923), 19. 
2T J. T. Trowbridge, "My Own Story" (Boston, 1903), 262. 

38 Holmes, "Dead Yet Living," 11-12. 


support is pierced in his hands. Their honor is not honor, but 
a bastard quality, . . . and for all times the honor of the 
supporters of slavery will be throughout the world a byword 
and a hissing." 29 In its later years of moderation the Nation 
was compelled to observe that many Northerners thought of 
Southerners as "a wild set of murderous savages." If so, the 
Nation of 1865 had contributed its share in implanting the 
notion in Northern minds. 

To some Northerners it therefore appeared essential that 
a conquest of the Southern spirit must follow the conquest of 
arms. "Is it not time," argued James Russell Lowell, "that 
these men [Southerners] be transplanted at least into the nine- 
teenth century, and, if they cannot be suddenly Americanized, 
made to understand something of the country which was too 
good for them, even though at the cost of a rude shock to their 
childish self-conceit?" To Lowell "Americanization" was the 
planting of schools, roads, churches, printing presses, industry, 
thrift, intelligence, security of life (Northern virtues it is to be 
assumed!) in the South, where there had been "no public 
libraries, no colleges worthy of the name, ... no art, no 
science, still worse no literature but Simms' there was no 
desire for them." For Lowell the great ideal of the war had 
been the "Americanization of all America." That ideal must 
not now be surrendered. "When men talk of generosity toward 
a suppliant foe, they entirely forget what that foe really was. 
To the people of the South no one thinks of being unmerciful. 
But they were only the blind force wielded by our real enemy, 
an enemy, prophesy what smooth things you will, with 
whom we can never be reconciled and whom it would be 
madness to spare." 30 

The exigencies of the political situation proved an added 
hindrance to conciliatory influences. Just as in the crisis of 
1860-1861 the political chieftains found it impossible to retreat 
from the extreme positions they had assumed, so now in the 
crisis of 1865-1866 the idea of partisan supremacy dictated 
intrenchment deep in the divisions of the period. The major 
parties acted not as unifying forces, but as divisive forces. 

29 As reported in the Boston Transcript, April 25, 1865. 
80 North American Review, CIII (1866), 536, 537, 540, 542. 


The Democratic New York World asserted with much truth 
that the "real leaders" of the Republican party "see that unless 
the South can be trodden down and kept under foot for long 
years, or unless they can give the negroes the ballot, and con- 
trol it in their hands, their present political supremacy is gone 
forever." 31 What the World failed to acknowledge was that 
the ill-concealed desire to gain Democratic votes from the white 
South was pushing its own party into extremes of early Recon- 
struction just as party necessity was precipitating the Republi- 
cans into the opposite extremes of radicalism. Moderate 
Northerners had natural apprehensions of the future. Some- 
thing concrete was needed for their assurance. The one party 
assumed a false position when it seemed prone to underesti- 
mate the difficulties of the problem, and this came with espe- 
cially bad grace from a party that had offered organized 
resistance to the war administration. The other party exagger- 
ated the fears, and offered too much a program of "thorough." 
But the better emotional appeal was with the latter. For when 
the alternative is between too little and too much the timid 
man is apt to choose the second. 

The unlaid ghosts of old disputes thus stalked the stage. 
The drama began in confusion and proceeded unplanned 
through perplexing shifts until the unintentioned climax of 
vindictiveness triumphing over magnanimity was reached. 
Reconciliation was to come only after the Northern program 
was firmly implanted in the South. "We cannot dream of con- 
ciliation until resistance ceases," was not merely the cry of 
the politician. There was a dominant public response to Low- 
ell's assertion, "We have the same right to impose terms and 
to demand guarantees . . . that the victor always has." At last, 
a victor's peace could be unblushingly demanded, To many, it 
remains to be said, the decision brought relief, if only the 
relief of permitting fears and doubts to find outlets in action. 

So again the North sent its armies into the South, this 
time to overthrow the moderate Reconstruction governments 
established under the auspices of Lincoln and Johnson, and to 
rule by martial law until new structures based upon Negro 
rule and directed by Republican chieftains might make a con- 

81 New York World, Sept 11, 1865. 


quest of the Southern spirit. The result was disorder worse 
than war, and oppression unequaled in American annals. 

Yet the North continued to cherish a belief in its own sup- 
posed leniency. The record of having taken no lives in execu- 
tion and virtually no property in confiscation as punishment 
for the "crimes of treason and rebellion" was pointed to with 
pride. It seemed to men so different in their backgrounds as 
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, General Sherman, and the 
historian Rhodes, "the mildest punishment ever inflicted after 
an unsuccessful civil war." Nor could the ordinary Northerner 
realize how any one could charge him with hatred toward 
the South. In his own mind he acted out of charity. A final 
way in which the sectional conscience might be cleared was 
to maintain, as Beecher did, that the evils suffered by the 
South were her own responsibility. "She willed the conflict 
and must abide the consequences." 32 

It would seem the part of wisdom to understand rather than 
to blame. The victorious are as deserving of 'pity as the de- 
feated. Few in the America of 1865 could have envisioned the 
arduous road that must be traversed before true peace and 
brotherhood could be achieved. 

32 Cf. Henry Ward Beecher, Centennial Address, "Patriotic Addresses" 
(New York, 1887), 779. 



THE defeated South stretched more than twelve hundred miles 
from the ancient settlement of Jamestown to the open frontier 
in Texas. In the Northern mind this South of majestic dis- 
tances was generalized as a formula or idea that must be com- 
bated and destroyed. The South did in fact assume a unity in 
face of Northern hostility. But in reality the situation was not 
so simple. The South was a vast congeries in which geographic 
variations, cultural deviations, and conflicting currents of his- 
torical development rested in yet imperfect adjustment. The 
assimilation of such complexity was a problem of far greater 
scope than the nationalists of 1865 appreciated. 

Physically the South was far from a unit. The eleven states 
of the defunct Confederacy, in size alone, had been a vaster 
land than all the empire Napoleon had ever ruled. Central in 
the South, separating the eastern portion from the western 
was the mountain and hill country of the Appalachian high- 
lands. Here was a region as large as a kingdom of western 
Europe, one occupied in 1865 by more than a million whites, 
isolated from and almost untouched by the dominant trends in 
Southern life. Along the eastern and southern coast stretched 
a sandy plain from fifty to two hundred miles in width a 
land of dense pine forests and impassable swamps, with now 
and then a seaport or a village breaking the monotony. Fertile 
river bottoms penetrated the normal unproductiveness of this 
plain from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Along these rich 
alluvial bottoms the plantations throve in a prosperity that 
stood in stark contrast to the impoverished life of the piriey 
woods. The Piedmont uplands constituted still another region, 
a favored area where farm and plantation met in mute con- 


flict for the better soils. Beyond the Mississippi was Texas, 
whose great open spaces offered opportunities of booming 
prosperity to both cotton planter and cattle raiser. 

From yet another point of view there was the South of 
the Old Dominion and her western daughter, Kentucky, land 
of tobacco, established ways, and partially exhausted soils. 
There was the deep South, land of cotton, a newer and more 
aggressive type, that pressed westward into the frontier regions 
across the Mississippi. Thus the South of tobacco, corn, cot- 
ton, sugar, and rice, the South of primitive backwoods and 
bluegrass refinement, the South of plains, rolling uplands, 
mountains, and great rivers, was a South of striking contrasts. 
But mostly it was a rural South where four out of five people 
lived not in cities or on plantations or on barrens but on 

The most notable characteristic affecting life in the Old 
South was its isolation. The typical Southerner that the ob- 
servant Olmsted met on his travels in Dixie was a farmer 
living remote from neighbors and hungry for human con- 
tacts. The typical county had less than ten thousand inhabi- 
tants with its only "city" a central village where court house, 
inn, and a few places of business clustered in lonely con- 
trast to the unyielding countryside. No part of America had 
a larger percentage of self-sufficing farms. A feeling of "mag- 
nificent solitude" pervaded even the plantations where social 
activity was most highly organized. In the South at large there 
was little to relieve the monotony of stern routine on isolated 
farms. Frontier conditions had lingered, leaving traces that 
long affected Southern modes of life and thought. 

Slavery and the semi feudal state it fostered proved an- 
other factor in determining the character of the South. The 
presence of the Negro conditioned every Southern reaction. It 
gave to the Southerner the basic premise of his creed, the 
inferiority of the black man and the absolute need of discipline 
to keep society in proper adjustment. To the Southerner of all 
classes slavery was the most satisfactory discipline, and to its 
maintenance planter, yeoman, and poor white were all willing 
to make considerable sacrifices. 

From the action and interaction of these influences, the 


lingering frontier and the slave plantation, were derived most of 
the qualities that characterized the Southerner who faced the 
problems of 1865. His virtues and his vices were not those of 
crowded places. Nor were they typical of a society free from 
the shadow of race division. Plantation and frontier combined 
to give to the South much personal kindness, hospitality, loy- 
alty to home, and patriotism of locality. But they also pro- 
duced a society in which violence was prevalent, with crudity 
of living conditions general outside a restricted few, and an 
alarmingly great degree of social wastage existing in the form 
of ignorant, unskilled blacks and impoverished whites. On the 
one hand there were manliness and womanliness, high stand- 
ards of personal conduct, bravery, and the capacity for great 
sacrifice. On the other hand there were few books of modern 
literature, few newspapers of wide influence, little music, and 
almost no theater. And finally there was an unyielding stability 
of opinion, the twin product of isolation and the need of de- 
fending slavery, that served the South so well in war and was 
to be its chief resistance to what was to follow. 

In many respects the South embodied a survival of older 
folkways into the modernity of the Nineteenth Century. It 
did not welcome the "spirit" of the new age with its experi- 
mental isms, its energies, and its remakings. Southern life 
was on simpler terms, conservatively adjusted to agriculture 
and quiet aloofness. Even its problems it preferred to let alone, 
like the poor whites who were permitted to lie basking in the 
sunlight of indifference. Its folkways were near the soil and 
for that reason seemed to Southerners to be more sincere than 
the modernism that they believed was sweeping the North into 
the maelstrom of European change. Southerners took pride 
in their provincial culture. The familiar, homely ways were 
preferred to foreign ways, and the poorest felt as keenly 
as the richest the pride of being of the South. 

Much has been written of Southern pride, especially by 
Northerners who were galled by what they considered the 
arrogance of Southern boasting. Whatever the cause, whether 
it was the reflex of Southern provincialism, the defense reac- 
tion of a slave society in a world of freedom, or inherent 
justification, the South did firmly believe in its own superi- 


ority. Few people have carried self-respect and self-pride to so 
sensitive a degree. It was a complete identification of the indi- 
vidual with the section. To praise one was to justify the other. 
To attack the South was an insult to the Southerner, and vice 

The clash of Southern and Northern societies in the politi- 
cal arena of the fifties and on the battlefields of the Civil War 
accentuated Southern pride and focused its expression in 
growing disdain for the North. The South, like the North, 
built its morale upon a propaganda of hatred. "I do believe/' 
wrote a Southern lady of rare refinement in 1866, "that the 
words which passed from North to South, and back again did 
more to set us against each other than the bullets. ... I look 
back aghast now to think what lies we swallowed about you 
. . . the poisoned minie-balls our papers said you shot at us 
the poisoned drugs they said you smuggled into our hospi- 
tals, the starved, rat-eating prisoners they said you abused, the 
murderous emissaries they said you sent among our slaves." l 
The influence such stories had upon the growing youth of the 
South is revealed in the case of Walter Hines Page, who, born 
in 1855 and raised in the lonesome rural life of wartime North 
Carolina, entered early manhood with all the beliefs of his 
environment. "Indeed," he wrote as late as the middle seven- 
ties, "however much the Southern race (I say race inten- 
tionally: Yankeedom is the home of another race from us) 
however much the Southern race owes its strength to Anglo- 
Saxon blood, it owes .its beauty and gracefulness to the 
Southern climate and culture. Who says that we are not an 
improvement on the English? An improvement in a happy 
combination of mental graces and Saxon force/' 2 

The full force of Southern character reached its peak of 
development in the effort to secure independence. Few wars 
more thoroughly enlisted the hearts of an entire people than 
the struggle for Southern nationalism. "To us," wrote the 
scientist, Joseph Le Conte, "it was literally a life and death 
struggle for national existence." Le Conte, like many thought- 

1 H. S. Chamberlain, "Old Days in Chapel Hill, Being the Life and Let- 
ters of Cornelia Phillips Spencer" (Chapel Hill, 1926), 128-129. 

2 B. J. Hendrick, "Life and Letters of Walter Hines Page" (New York, 
1922),!, 28. 


ful men, had originally opposed secession, but "gradually a 
change came about how, who can say ? It was in the atmos- 
phere; we breathed it in the air; it reverberated from heart to 
heart; it was like a spiritual contagion. . . . The final result 
was enthusiastic unanimity of sentiment throughout the 
South." 3 Even after due allowance is made for the fatal divi- 
sion of opinion within the Confederacy as to the conduct of 
the war, there remains an essential truth in the assertion of 
Judah P. Benjamin, the Southern Secretary of State, that, 
"No people have ever poured out their blood more freely in 
defense of their liberties and independence, nor have endured 
with greater cheerfulness than have the men and women of 
these Confederate States." 4 

The Civil War was no war of professional soldiers who 
made a business of fighting. Men went into the army as 
amateurs. Each felt "the fate of the nation resting on his shoul- 
ders. ... It was [the burden of responsibility] which killed 
killed and weakened more than shot and shell and frost 
and heat together." 5 Back of the soldier stood a nation social- 
ized for purposes of waging war. To maintain the morale of 
such an army and such a society the motives for fighting had 
to be translated into ideals. The Southern cause was preached 
as a soul-absorbing aspiration for an independent existence. 
Consequently defeat when it came was more than merely the 
loss of an armed contest. It was a crushing of the spirit. 
Desertion from the army and loss of the will to fight at home 
evidenced a people robbed of faith in themselves as their na- 
tion sank beneath the power of Northern force. 

The Southern veteran came back to no such scenes of jubila- 
tion as brightened the return of his adversary. Wearied in 
body, exhausted in spirit, he passed through wasted country- 
sides until he found retreat in a home that had been saddened 
by loss and impoverished by sacrifice. His was the retreat of 
a wounded stag seeking nothing better than the peace of soli- 
tude where the hounds of his enemy could not follow and the 

S W. D. Armes, "The Autobiography of Joseph Le Conte" (New York, 
1903), 179, 181. 

* Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, II, 694. 

5 Le Moyne, a Confederate veteran, in A. W. Tourgee, "Bricks without 
Straw" (New York, 1880), 303. 


taunting cries of the victorious chase could not penetrate. As 
the stag in the depths of its forest had been lord, so also the 
South in its aloofness had felt supreme. The brief emergence of 
the nation in the brilliant enthusiasm of the early war years had 
brought it dire exposure to the great, unsuspected strength of 
the North. Force had undeceived the Southerner. What was 
left but to retire deep again into the shadows of isolation? 
But even there must now be felt the dread of pursuit. 

The first and unforgettable impression of humiliating defeat 
was the dispersion of the Southern armies. Not in columns of 
marching men proud in bearing and strong in spirit did the 
Southern veterans return. Singly or in pairs they straggled 
into all parts of the South. They sat down in ragged gray to 
no fatted calf but begged a crust from people who had little 
more than crusts to share. They heard no music of fife and 
drum but met the silence of exhaustion that better harmo- 
nized with their own despair. Few who underwent this experi- 
ence ever erased the memory of the inglorious humiliation it 
engraved upon their hearts. 

v It was not merely the ruin of war in a physical sense. The 
utter prostration of the South was only in part a story of 
devastation, burnt cities, bankrupt financial institutions, torn-up 
railways, depleted farms, and a disrupted labor force. More 
disastrous was the impoverishment of spirit that came with 
defeat and continued in the depressed standard of living that 
followed the war. "The flower of [our] labors/' lamented a 
veteran of the conflict, "and those of [our] fathers for cen- 
turies had been trampled in the dust/' 6 A stagnation of the 
soul was as noticeable in 1865 as the opposite extreme of 
enthusiasm in 1861. It was, as one observed, "a mute consent 
to almost any misfortune which might happen/' 7 

Yet these exhausted people confronted a sequel to war of 
even greater import than their impoverishment. "Our people/' 
wrote Sidney Lanier, "have failed to perceive the deeper move- 
ments under-running the times; they lie wholly off, out of 
the stream of thought, and whirl their poor dead leaves of 

6 Edward Mayes, "Lucius Q. C. Lamar, His Life, Times, and Speeches" 
(Nashville, 1896), 118-119. 

7 Edward King, "The Great South" (New York, 1875), 333. 


recollection round and round, in a piteous eddy that has all 
the wear and tear of motion without any of the rewards of 
progress/' The armies of the Union had penetrated the South- 
ern aloofness. How much the imponderables of Southern life 
would continue to resist change from outside remained for the 
future to decide. But it was obvious even in 1865 that defeat 
involved a certain revolution of Southern life. 

The forced remaking of a society is never pleasant to envi- 
sion. The South faced a prospect made grimmer still by the 
heritage of hate and bitterness. Little sympathy could be ex- 
pected from the North. Too many there thought of Southerners 
as rebels who had "framed iniquity into universal law." North- 
ern hatred was met by Southern hatred. Conquest taught the 
South not respect for Northern ways but sullen dread of 
Northern strength. A writer in the recalcitrant Southern Re- 
view saw nothing in his survey of the war poetry more strik- 
ing than "the expression of hate, . . . intense, unquenchable 
personal hate of Northerners as a race and as individuals." 
So bitter had Southern sentiment become that when Lincoln 
was assassinated there were some at least who welcomed it as 
^a sort of retributive justice. 8 The South emerged from the war 
with a strengthened conviction of Northern wickedness and 
a sense of having been unduly persecuted by the vindictive 
malignity of the Federal power. 

The sentiment hardened into unyielding prejudice. Defeat 
came, and to those who had staked all and lost all it meant that 
the bitter road of the conquered must be traveled. Vae metis! 
C. C. Clay spoke of it as a crucifixion in body and in soul. 
Many heard the cry, "The Yankees are coming," only to find 
that the words meant "the fall of loved ones, the burning of 
homes, the wasting of property, flight, poverty, subjugation, 
humiliation, a thousand evils, and a thousand sorrows." 9 The 
flag of the Union meant chastisement. Too often the emissary 
of the victorious power expected from the fallen atonement as 
though they had been in sin. 10 The South submitted but had 

8 J. S. Wise, "End of an Era" (Boston, 1899), 454; Southern Review 
(Baltimore), I (1867), 236-237. 

9 J. W. DeForest, "Chivalrous and Semi-Chivalrous Southrons/' Harper's 
Monthly Magazine, XXXVIII (1869), 339. 

10 Mrs. R. A. Pryor, "My Day" (New York, 1909), 275. 


no love for its master. July 4, 1865, the birthday of the Ameri- 
can people, was silently ignored. 11 Not independence but a yoke 
heavier than their ancestors of 1776 had worn seemed the 
Southern lot. 

Not glory but pathos encompassed the Southerner's first 
adjustment to the new regime. Lost were the dreams of great- 
ness. Yet ruin, poverty, and defeat could not altogether de- 
stroy memory of the aspiration. The yearning for the vanished 
beauty of the past became a part of the Southern heart. Never 
was it more beautifully expressed than in the poem of Timrod, 
which itself became part of the tradition. 

Sleep sweetly in your humble graves, 

Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause ; 
Though yet no marble column craves 

The pilgrim here to pause. 

Timrod dying from undernourishment himself personified the 
spirit that slept beneath the Southern ashes. 

Memory, indeed, was the only solace in "these days of pub- 
lic shame, in this conquered land." 12 If in some it sealed the 
heart to reconciliation, to many it was the one thing that made 
life bearable. The dark shadow of mourning blackened the 
land. Productive of the greatest grief was the necessity of in- 
terring the Lost Cause. Father Ryan expressed the emotion of 
his people in the despairing yet acquiescing poem, "The Con- 
quered Banner/' 

Furl that Banner, softly, slowly! 
Treat it gently it is holy 

For it droops above the dead. 
Touch it not unfurl it never, 
Let it droop there, furled forever, 

For its people's hopes are dead. 

11 Typical was Mrs. Preston's diary, "July 4, 1865. The Confederacy dis- 
owns forever as sacred the Fourth of July." E. P. Allan, "Life and Letters 
of Margaret Junkin Preston" (Boston, 1903), 208. Not until 1876 did the 
Charleston News and Courier urge renewed commemoration of the day. 

12 See the Annual Report of the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and 
Daughters, of the Confederate Soldiers (Charleston, 1871)1 7. 


The spirit of the South seemed dead in the dreary summer 
of i865. 18 It was beyond the power of comprehension to realize 
that everything the South represented had suddenly become 
unfit for future life. The premises upon which past confidence 
had rested were now demolished. Had God willed the conflict ? 
Had God made right to triumph over wrong? Had then the 
South been wrong? Such logic which would turn even the 
nobility of sacrifices into sin was impossible for an impover- 
ished and bereaved people to accept. There must be an alterna- 
tive. The South groped until it found an answer in admitting 
that Northern wealth and power had been invincible. Force, 
not reason and not right, had been the arbiter. It was easier to 
admit the strength of the North than to admit its righteous- 
ness. If the new equation proved more acceptable to Southern 
pride, it nevertheless carried a price tag of its own. The South 
must henceforth feel its own inferiority. And so to old, still 
sore, and cankering wounds was added a new factor which 
made for still greater emotional instability. 

The admission of utter defeat was everywhere apparent in 
the South of 1865. From this followed the corollary of gen- 
eral acquiescence in the political consequences of the war. The 
apprehensive North little appreciated the completeness of its 
triumph, missed the extent to which the bankruptcy of South- 
ern morale went, and so found it difficult to receive without 
some questioning the many assurances given by reporters of 
all shades of opinion that the South "accepted the situation." 14 
The South, to be sure, showed no enthusiasm in this submis- 
sion, and it is also probably true that none of its fundamental 
beliefs were immediately altered. The conviction of the Negro's 
inferiority remained, and while emancipation was accepted the 
need for discipline was still insisted upon. As for the political 
issues that had been so long in dispute the Southerner did not 
feel that they had been settled correctly, but he did know that 

18 "There was In the people themselves, especially in the women, an air of 
sadness which was as painful as it was natural. The ladies generally dressed 
in black or in dark colors, and there was not in King Street, at the busiest 
time, any of the chirping and chattering which are now so common." Dawson, 
"Talks by the Way," Charleston Sunday News, November 14, 1886. 

14 Truman, Report, 2; Andrews, "The South since the War," 9; Schurz, 
Report, 45-46. 


they had been settled. 15 "The God of battles/' wrote the Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana in language many could subscribe to, "has 
irrevocably decreed that we are one people. We must live to- 
gether as brethren." 16 

"I am satisfied," wrote General Grant, "that the mass of 
thinking men of the South accept the present situation of af- 
fairs in good faith." 17 Much evidence substantiated Grant's 
opinion. Trowbridge, hardly a friendly observer, noted that 
most of the men who had "been lately fighting against us" 
wanted peace. 18 Truman wrote that "The soldiers of the late 
rebel army are, if possible, infinitely more wearied and dis- 
gusted with war and all its works than those of our army, and 
long for nothing so much as quiet." 19 Sidney Lanier in "Tiger 
Lilies" made an allegory of his war experience. Picturing the 
struggle as a "strange, enormous, terrible flower," he fervently 
hoped that it was forever destroyed. Lee urged all Southerners 
to "unite in honest efforts to obliterate the efforts of war and 
to restore the blessings of peace..^ 20 Roger A. Pryor, a Virginia 
fire-eater of the secession crisis, now advised his friends "to 
adjust their ideas to the altered state of affairs; to recognize 
and respect the rights of the colored race; to cultivate rela- 
tions of confidence and good-will toward the people of the 
North; to abstain from the profitless agitation of political de- 
bate, and to employ their energies in the far more exigent and 
useful work of material reparation and development." 21 

The political leaders who were vocal in the period following 
the surrender were also in agreement as to the wisdom of a 
policy of acquiescence. The men who had been prominent in 
the affairs of the Confederacy were for the moment silenced. 
In their place a group of conservatives from the old union 

15 In a letter to Governor Letcher of Virginia, General Lee pointed out 
that while the issues had not been settled by reason they had been referred 
to the decision of war and decided unfavorably to the South. "It is the part of 
wisdom to acquiesce in the result and of candour to recognize the fact." Lee 
to Letcher, August 28, 1865, as quoted in H. A. White, "Robert E. Lee" 
(New York, 1897), 431. 

16 Governor D. S. Walker, Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia (1866), 326. 

17 Report, 106. 

18 Trowbridge, "The South," 188. 

19 Truman, Report, 3. 

20 White, "Robert E. Lee," 431. 

21 Mrs. Pryor, "My Day," 327. 


party of the fifties acted as spokesmen for the South. These 
men had for the most part opposed the policy of secession in 
1860 and so seemed available to effect a renewal of contact 
with the North. At the same time they had given support to 
the Confederacy after the war had begun and so they com- 
manded the respect of the South. Among them were individ- 
uals of substantial integrity and ability. Without exception 
they urged the practical wisdom of concurring in the outcome 
of the war. 22 The Charleston News in reviewing the events of 
1865 summarized the matter by saying that the two great 
issues, the permanence of the Union and the freedom of the 
Negro, had been irrevocably decided. "Let us not unfit our- 
selves for the destiny which is marked out for us by cherish- 
ing any prejudices/' 28 

It is a false impression, however, to assume that the South 
of 1865 was much concerned with politics. The North itself 
was so preoccupied with the issue of deciding a Reconstruc- 
tion policy that everything Southern was distorted. Purveyors 
of Southern news to the North were curious as to what the 
South thought, especially about the Negro and the political sit- 
uation. They pried into minds that would never otherwise have 
expressed opinions and the opinions were relayed North to be 
printed in newspapers, reports, and books. But while the domi- 
nant section was active in its interest, the South was mainly 
passive. The people had had their fill of politics. Let the con- 
queror solve the problem of the nation's future. The South 
had a more intimate task to meet, an immediate one that en- 
grossed every energy. That task was the personal one of 
salvaging from the general ruin the elements of livelihood 

"I have no political aspirations of any kind," wrote one ob- 
scure Southerner whose attitude was typical of many. "I could 
not indulge them if I had them." * "Our interest lies in eschew- 
ing political excitement," advised a Governor. "Whilst others 
rage and wrangle over ephemeral issues, let us be busy with the 

22 B. F. Perry of South Carolina and Jonathan Worth of North Carolina 
were outstanding representatives of this group. 
28 Charleston News, Jan. 13, 15, 1866. 
2 * "Bryan-Hayes Correspondence," Southwestern Quarterly, XXV, 231. 


real, abiding concerns of life." M Political responsibility was a 
luxury to men whose total strength was needed in the battle 
with poverty. 26 The South sank to a dead level of unremitting 
struggle for the necessities of life. 

The newspapers of Savannah, one student has observed, 
treated political news far less conspicuously than reports of 
crops. 27 Charles Bruce found little politics in "the isolated life 
of a Virginia farmer." "Simple routine and comparative se- 
clusion" were for him a contrast to the prewar interest in poli- 
tics he and his planter friends had known. 28 "People are think- 
ing about their private business," reported another Virginian. 
'They want to go to work to repair their losses." 29 Frances 
Leigh, who had her own problem of rehabilitating a disor- 
ganized plantation, saw men living "only in the daily present, 
trying, in a listless sort of way, to repair their ruined fortunes. 
They are like so many foreigners, whose only interest in the 
country is their own individual business." Mrs. Leigh recalled 
no discussion of politics in her entire experience. "Night after 
night gentlemen met at one house or another, and talked and 
discussed one and only one subject, and that was rice, rice, 
rice." 30 This preoccupation with the worries of broken lives 
made it all the more difficult to purge the heart of the resent- 
ment and prejudice engendered by the war. "I could be hap- 
pier," wrote C. C. Clay, "almost anywhere than here, the scene 
of so many departed joys never to return, of so many sorrows 
never to be forgotten, of so many wrongs so hard to forgive. 
That command of Christ, 'Love your enemies/ so like a good 

25 Governor Jenkins, Message to the Legislature, November I, 1866, Jour- 
nal of the Georgia House of Representatives, 1866, 31. 

26 The case of John and William Tison, of Beaufort, South Carolina, was 
typical. They belonged to the planter class and had been educated at Har- 
vard College, graduating in 1847. William became a state legislator before 
the war. John was a colonel in the Confederate army. In the autumn of 1866 
William wrote that he was living in two rooms, unprotected from the weather. 
His family of wife and eight children lacked food and clothing. His gun was 
his only dependence for meat. Corn and hominy were his chief articles of diet. 
He had no horses, mules, or oxen, and no money to buy them. Manuscript in 
Harvard College Library, Harvard Class of 1847, 429, 430, 441. 

27 C. M. Thompson, "Reconstruction in Georgia" (New York, 1915), 164. 

28 Manuscript in Harvard College Library, Harvard Class of 1847, 99- 

29 As quoted in Fleming, "Documentary History of Reconstruction," I, 10. 

30 F. B. Leigh, "Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation since the War" (Lon- 
don, 1883), 12-13, 15^-153* 


God, and so unlike a wicked man, is kept constantly in memory, 
to wound and reproach/' 31 The war had given to many the 
most intense experience of their lives. For such people the 
dead past could not die. It clung tenaciously, making some per- 
manently unreconcilable and giving to all an instability of emo- 
tion that could be directed into unfriendly channels in much 
the same manner as the Northern apprehension had been 
turned into vindictiveness. There were memories in the expe- 
rience of all that could not be forgotten or remembered with 
pleasure. When new irritations such as undisciplined Negroes, 
contact with the military occupation, thoughtless slander by 
visiting Northerners, or the imprisonment of Jefferson Davis, 
were added to the dark social and economic outlook of 1865, 
the spirit of the South grew sullen and unfriendly. Yet it re- 
mains true that most of the hatred of the South found expres- 
sion at a later date. During the summer of 1865 it was hushed. 

It would be more accurate to say that the South in 1865 was 
unadjusted rather than unreconciled. The people had not yet 
found a basis in the shifting sands of the new conditions. The 
planting aristocracy had lost heavily in wealth and political in- 
fluence. Many had to make new starts in life for which little 
in past experience had given preparation. The professional and 
middle classes, if they had less to lose, were nevertheless con- 
fronted with the equally grim necessity of fighting a long en- 
gagement with impoverishment. The poor were brought to the 
brink of actual starvation. The clergymen were rendered al- 
most useless from the point of view of constructive influence. 
They had preached the righteousness of the Southern cause as 
fervently as their Northern brethren had invoked God to aid 
the Union. But their cause had failed and the adjustment to 
God's will was more than they could gracefully accomplish. It 
was in the churches that one found the utmost intolerance, bit- 
terness, and unforgiveness during the sad months that fol- 
lowed Appomattox. 32 

The greatest problem of adjustment was that which faced the 
women of the South. Upon no class of the population did the 

81 Mayes, "Lamar," 122. 

82 The Reverend Doctor Girardeati of Charleston, South Carolina, might 
be offered as typical. See his address, Confederate Memorial Day, Charleston, 
$. C. (pamphlet), 17, 20. 


war leave a more indelible impression. The enthusiasm aroused 
in them found no easy outlet in bearing arms as it had in the 
case of men. It festered as they sat silently, waiting and en- 
during. 'The poverty which war brings to them," wrote one 
Confederate in his recollections, "wears no cheerful face, but 
sits down with them to empty tables and pinches them sorely 
in solitude/' 3S The man who fought learned to understand that 
an attitude toward an opponent could be dissociated from the 
enmity directed against a cause. That the women were never 
given the opportunity to learn. To them the enemy was in- 
dividually and collectively identical. 

The Southern woman suffered a triple agony in the war. 
First was the physical suffering that came from deprivation 
and impoverishment. Hers was the responsibility of managing 
farms from which the men had gone into the armies and of 
feeding families left unprovided for. Secondly was the per- 
sonal loss of fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers killed in 
battle or by disease. So large a percentage of the white male 
population of the South went into the army that nearly every 
family circle knew in time the cost of war. Finally, the South- 
ern woman had an experience her Northern sister more for- 
tunately escaped the crucifixion of soul that came from 
sacrifices made in vain. And in the end it became their lot to 
face personal insult, humiliation, and, in cases, actual danger. 34 

So heart-rending and irremediable were the effects that 
thousands of Southern women seemed unable to appreciate 
that the cause for which they had given so much was actually 
destroyed. The peace had meant to them the ultimate in morti- 
fication. What abasement of the female spirit could be greater 
than the infliction placed on them of having little left with 
which to cheer the return of their beaten loved ones? The 
greater the humiliation the more imperative it seemed that the 
struggle must go on. And yet again there was no effective line 
of action. The only outlet was hate. 

33 G. C. Eggleston, "Rebel's Recollections" (New York, 1875), 58. 

34 The Northern women "were in no danger themselves. There was no 
Milroy, no Butler, no Hunter, no Sheridan, no Sherman, to taunt and upbraid 
them, to strip them of their most precious mementoes, to steal or scatter their 
scanty store of provisions and burn their homes over their heads." F. W. 
Dawson, "Our Women in the War," 3. 


Possibly the most revealing expression of this emotion ap- 
peared in the poetry written by Southern women during the 
year and a half following the surrenders. It is a poetry of black- 
robed women : 

Weak their hearts from too much sorrow, 
Weak their frames from want and toil, 

Toiling where the earth is reeking 
With the blood that soaked its soil. 

It is a poetry of the dead : 

We who live are living buried, 

Ye will ever live who died ; 
For ye represent a struggle 

That your deaths have glorified. 

It is a poetry in which the dead are considered happier than 
the survivor: 

He knew not the sorrow the conquered must feel, 
The grief of a fruitless endeavor. 

It is a poetry of despairing courage: 

We do accept thee, heavenly Peace! 

Upon our spirits, Fear distrust 
The hopeless present on us thrust 
We'll meet them as we can, and must. 

Fannie Downing in "Dixie" seemed to reflect the entire range. 

To die for Dixie! Oh, how blest 

Are those who early went to rest, 

Nor knew the future's awful store, 

But deemed the cause they fought for sure 

As heaven itself, and so laid down 

The cross of earth for glory's crown. 

And nobly died for Dixie. 
To live for Dixie harder part ! 


More ambitious was the long narrative poem, "Beechen- 
brook," by Mrs. Margaret J. Preston. The poem was one of 
the most widely read of books of any sort in the prostrate 
South. It was dedicated to "every Southern woman who has 
been widowed by the war ... as a faint memorial of suf- 
ferings, of which there can be no f orgetfulness !" The poem is 
highly sentimental. Its tone is irreconcilable. The emphasis is 
on despair, grief, trouble, poverty, ruin. But the reader would 
be dull indeed if he failed to sense the depth of emotion that 
was put into "Beechenbrook." Here was pride in sacred memo- 
ries and the unshaken determination of a widowed lady that 
the "glorious South must be Free!" Such women would be 
hard to reconcile. 

It seems necessary to emphasize that it was this legacy of 
hatred and shattered hopes, rather than an inadequate early 
training, that left the Southern women unadjusted to the new 
conditions of the postwar South. So far as formal education 
was concerned it may well be true that the Old South sought 
to develop grace and charm, but it can scarcely be maintained 
that the Southern women were much more superficially trained 
than the women of the North. The plantation women had their 
discipline and their responsibility, and it would be absurd to 
imagine the great mass of Southern women who lived on farms 
as free from care. Yet it remains true that the new order 
which followed the war was to revolutionize the outlook of 
the Southern woman. American women, North and South, 
had been sheltered from unfriendly exposure to the world. The 
South had gone further than the North in romanticizing the 
role of women in society. The grim necessities of the prostrate 
South precipitated the Southern woman on her painful road 
of adjustment in a way the Northern woman was never to 

To illustrate, one could cite young Bessie Allston, of Charles- 
ton, whose mother had been widowed in the war. The family's 
rice plantation was in ruins, and Mrs. Allston' s immediate 
task was to make a livelihood. "August 25 [1865]," reads 
the daughter's diary. "A letter from Mamma today has upset 
me completely ... she has determined to open a boarding 
and day school, and she expects me to teach! . . , I wrote 


'Mamma, I cannot teach/ . . . Now that I have sent the letter 
I am awfully ashamed. . . . Am I just a butterfly?" Mrs. All- 
ston was inexorable, or rather the force of poverty dominated, 
and so on October 20 the diary reads, "My irresponsible life 
ends. ... I have been able to enjoy being young and foolish. 
I love dancing and I love admiration and I love to be gay." 85 
So also Frances Butler Leigh, taken to a Georgia plantation by 
her father, learned how to be "very busy, very useful, and very 
happy" ; how to cook and how to doctor Negroes, and how in 
time to manage the plantation on her own responsibility. 36 
A new discipline came to Southern women. "The iron/' wrote 
one, "entered my soul very early in this great battle we call 
life. I looked about me with wide-open eyes, full of compre- 
hension and a heart full of bitterness. . . . Silk dresses were 
displaced by cotton ones, the parlor was deserted for the 
kitchen, the piano for the sewing machine. The grind was on 
us." ST Only the future could reveal what relation the adjust- 
ment this womanhood made would have to sectional peace. 

In summary, it can be noted that a gravitational pull was 
causing the complex currents of Southern reaction to defeat to 
flow down the lines of least resistance until they joined in a 
common outlet. The experiences of 1865 made perhaps for a 
greater unification of Southern emotion than had existed in any 
earlier period of the section's life. It was not climate, or geog- 
raphy, or the agriculture of staple crops, which made the South 
the entity that stood confronting the victorious North, and 
gave to the American nationalist his problem of assimilation. 
The South was a people who had had a history of separate as- 
piration and who still possessed the memory of a cause that 
was lost. The South was a people united by a feeling of com- 
mon helplessness before the overwhelming display of North- 
ern might. And finally, the South was a people living in the 
presence of the Negro who had been freed from the discipline 
which had governed ante-bellum society. It was the common 
experience of aspiration and defeat, of a sense of superiority 

35 "Patience Pennington," pseudonym for Mrs. Elizabeth W. Allston 
Pringle, "Chronicles of Chicora Wood" (New York, 1913), 289-290, 296. 

36 F. B. Leigh, "Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation Since the War," 40-41. 
ST Belle Kearney, "A Slaveholder's Daughter" (New York, 1900), 22-23. 


passing into loss of confidence, of a feeling of social security 
changing into the instability of race relationship, that knit the 
section together. While the North had been steeling its heart 
to play the victor's role, the South in turn had learned the 
implications of defeat. Between the two yawned a vast chasm. 



DURING the summer of 1870 John Anderson made a visit to 
the South. He stopped with his friends in Tennessee, the 
family of Confederates who had nursed him back to health 
after finding him wounded and deserted on the battlefield. 
Upon his return to Ohio, Anderson was unable to decide 
whether he had enjoyed his trip or not. To no one in all his 
acquaintanceship did he feel so much gratitude as to this 
Southern family. He had been relieved to find that they had 
survived the war and the upheaval of reconstruction. He had 
been pleased with their unqualified welcome and the friendly 
glow of happiness his coming evoked upon their faces. But 
contact had not ripened into cordiality. Some restraint, some 
variation in background, present outlook, or future expecta- 
tion, seemed always present to prevent the harmony each was 
seeking. It was as though they were traveling different roads 
which, having once crossed, would forever afterwards diverge. 
True friendship could not be built upon the memory of a 
single meeting when the present and the future seemed gov- 
erned by an unyielding destiny of dissimilarity. 

"They are not us," Anderson was forced to admit to him- 
self with considerable disappointment and not complete under- 
standing as to why it should be so. "They are not us and we 
are not them. My visit was a bridge across a chasm. It en- 
abled me to shake their hands, to eat at their table, and to 
sleep in their bed. But it was only a bridge, and neither they 
nor I ever forgot the void between us. We could not even men- 
tion it Had we done so we would have been pushed even far- 
ther from each other. The only friendship possible was based 


upon a tacit Ignoring of what was deepest in our hearts. And 
what sort of friendship is that?" 

What Anderson experienced, most Americans experienced 
in the years that followed the Civil War. Much was said about 
the need of healing the wounds of strife. Optimists pointed to 
episodes that seemed to suggest the approach of reconciliation. 
But actually the years from 1865 to 1880 were dreary years 
in which there was no peace. The war had ended only on the 
battlefield. In the minds of men it still persisted. Memories of 
the past and issues living in the present combined to perpetuate 
and perhaps enlarge the antagonism that victory and defeat had 

One observer made the comment that "it was useless to 
preach forgiveness and good will to men still burning with the 
memory of their wrongs/' * A wrong so remembered became 
an endless source of virulence. Each section had its burden 
of grievances suffered from the other to carry into the future. 

Deeply engraven on the Northern heart was the conviction 
that the Confederacy had deliberately maltreated the prisoners 
of war captured by its armies. The Southern prisons, for rea- 
sons not here pertinent to explain, were at best what one Con- 
federate surgeon described as a "gigantic mass of human mis- 
ery." Stories of extreme suffering and bestial brutality ema- 
nated from them to fan the Northern rage into a frenzy. News- 
papers paraded exaggerated accounts of prison atrocities be- 
fore their readers. Escaped or exchanged prisoners published 
lurid tales of their experiences. The worse cases of emaciation 
and disease were photographed and the pictures reproduced 
in every Northern community. Fear gripped every Northerner 
who had a relative in the army. "Nothing in the Civil War 
was harder to get over," wrote one who had felt the dread. 
"If anything could justify sentiments of undying hatred 
toward all who participated in the slaveholders' rebellion, it was 
the treatment of our defenceless prisoners." 2 

A war-crazed public could not dissociate this suffering from 
deliberate intent of the enemy. Rather it fitted the purposes of 

1 Trowbridge, "My Own Story," 287. 

2 F. A. Walker, Oration Delivered at the Soldiers' Monument Dedication 
in North Brook field, Jan. 19, 1870 (Worcester, 1870), 12. 


propaganda to attribute the basest motives to the Confederates. 
It was not merely the people who so reacted ; they were abetted 
by the government. A committee of Congress made an official 
investigation and reported that "there was a fixed determina- 
tion on the part of the rebels to kill the Union soldiers who 
fell into their hands/' s The great non-governmental agencies of 
relief and propaganda contributed to the spread of similar 
impressions. After making an inspection of its own the United 
States Sanitary Commission declared, "The conclusion is un- 
avoidable . . . that these privations and sufferings have been 
designedly inflicted by the military and other authorities 
of the rebel government and cannot have been due to causes 
which such authorities could not control." 4 The Loyal League 
publicized both reports. 

Northern opinion was thus rigidly shaped in the belief that 
"tens of thousands of national soldiers . . . were deliberately 
shot to death, as at Fort Pillow, or frozen to death as at Belle 
Island, or starved to death as at Andersonville, or sickened to 
death by swamp malaria, as in South Carolina." s Horror 
passed into fury and fury into a demand for revenge. The 
New York Times insisted that "every rebel official who had 
been concerned, directly or indirectly, in the torturing and 
murdering of our prisoners" should be excluded from the 
terms of presidential pardon. 6 Secretary of War Stanton or- 
dered the officers in command of the Union armies advancing 
into the South to arrest the men who had been most promi- 
nent in the management of the prisons. Such "inhuman mon- 
ters" as "Dick" Turner of Libby, Captain R. B. Winder of 
Andersonville, and Major John H. Gee of Salisbury, were 
caught in the net. Considering the emotions of the time it is 
surprising that of the lot only two were punished. An obscure 
private was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term 
in prison. And the arch-fiend of iniquity, for so the North re- 
garded him, Major Henry Wirz, was hanged as a murderer. 

8 "Returned Prisoners," 38 Cong'., i Sess., House Report No. 67. 

4 United States Sanitary Commission, Narrative of Privations and Suf- 
ferings of United States Officers and Soldiers while Prisoners of War in the 
Hands of the Rebel Authorities (Philadelphia, 1864). 

*New York Times, May 28, 1865. 


It is not necessary to consider Wirz a hero or a villain in 
recognizing that he was the scapegoat upon whom centered 
the full force of Northern wrath. Andersonville prison repre- 
sented the utmost in horror, and it had been Wirz's misfor- 
tune to be in command of that prison in the months of greatest 
misery. He personified the evil and he was made to pay. He 
was not given an impartial trial. He stood already indicted in 
the North as a wholesale murderer from whom "some expia- 
tion must be exacted for the most infernal crime of the cen- 
tury." 7 A man who was believed to have boasted, "I am killing 
more Yankees than Lee at the front/' found no mercy. 

Wirz was executed in November 1865. Other trials all end- 
ing in acquittal continued into August 1866. But if the peak 
of frenzy passed, the issue continued to divide the sections. 
The public press made constant references to the prisons. 
Ministers preached sermons about them as examples of the 
barbarous influence of slavery. Politicians exploited the theme. 
At least forty-eight narratives of prison experiences were pub- 
lished in book form during the seven years from 1865 to 1871. 8 
Veteran groups gave prominence in their reunions to suffering 
survivors of the prison camps. In 1869 the House of Repre- 
sentatives published a committee report on the Treatment of 
Prisoners of War by the Rebel Authorities. The testimony 
of three thousand witnesses was taken to establish an "endur- 
ing truthful record, stamped with national authority." "The 
opinion of the committee carefully and deliberately formed [is] 
that the neglect and refusal of the rebel authorities to pro- 
vide sufficient and proper rations was the result of a pre- 
meditated system and scheme of the confederate authorities to 
reduce our ranks by starvation, and that they were not forced 
to these deprivations from accident or necessity." 9 

Meanwhile the South had no effective way of meeting these 
charges of brutality. The Confederate government was de- 
funct and so no official statement of the Southern side could 
be made to offset the Report of 1869. It was not until 1876 
that the publication of R. R. Stevenson's "The Southern Side, 

7 New York Times, July 26, 1865. 

8 The count was made by W. B. Hesseltine, "Civil War Prisons" (Colum- 
bus, 1930), 247-248. 

9 40 Cong., 3 Sess., House Report No. 45, 216. 


or Andersonville Prison" and J. W. Jones's "The Confeder- 
ate View of the Treatment of Prisoners' 1 gave to such unbiased 
minds as might wish to know an adequate exposition of the 
Southern side. It is not difficult to find, however, material in 
these years that indicates the South received the Northern 
charge with sullen hatred. Typical is an article contributed to 
the Southern Review in January 1867: 

The impartial times to come will hardly understand how a 
nation, which not only permitted but encouraged its government 
to declare medicines and surgical instruments contraband of war, 
and to destroy by fire and sword the habitations and food of non- 
combatants, as well as the fruits of the earth and the implements 
of tillage, should afterwards have clamored for the blood of 
captive enemies, because they did not feed their prisoners out of 
their own starvation and heal them in their succorless hospitals. 
And when a final and accurate development shall have been made 
of the facts connected with the exchange of prisoners between 
the belligerents, and it shall have been demonstrated, as even 
now it is perfectly understood, that all the nameless horrors 
which are recorded of the prison-houses upon both sides, were 
the result of a deliberate and inexorable policy of non-exchange 
on the part of the United States, founded on an equally deliber- 
ate calculation of their ability to furnish a greater mass of hu- 
manity than the Confederacy could afford for starvation and the 
shambles, men will wonder how it was that a people, passing for 
civilized and Christian, should have consigned Jefferson Davis to 
a cell, while they tolerated Edwin M. Stanton as a cabinet min- 

So the endless argument continued. The wounds remained 
unhealed festering their poison of unforgiveness. 

If the prisons constituted a Northern grievance the South 
likewise had its hurtful memories. While Northerners blamed 
the evil genius of slavery for the war, Southerners pointed the 
finger of responsibility to "those men who preached the irre- 
pressible conflict to the Northern people" and "helped to bring 
on that unlawful and unholy invasion of the South." 10 The 
South felt that it had been betrayed. "Assuredly the subjugated 
portions of this imperial republic (so called), with the bitter 

10 Major T. G. Barker, Address (Charleston, 1870), 7. 


experience they have of outraged honour, justice, and hu- 
manity, on the part of those once their associates and friends, 
can never again by any possibility trust that vast engine of 
tyranny, a consolidated popular Union, nor derive from it one 
ray of hope for their own welfare, or for the happiness of 
,- mankind." n It was to this "deep spirit of hate and oppression 
toward the Southern people," and not to the necessities of war, 
that the South attributed the vast destruction of its property. 12 
The ineradicable sense of injury felt by the South took con- 
crete form in condemning the ravages committed by General 
Sherman's army in Georgia and South Carolina. "No tongue 
will ever tell, no pen can record the horrors of that march," 
wrote an intimate associate of General Joseph E. Johnston 
whose surrender to Sherman is sometimes pictured as a love 
feast. 'Ten generations of women will transmit, in whispers 
to their daughters, traditions of unspeakable things." 13 The 
hurt inflicted was accentuated by Northern pride in the achieve- 
ment. The South resented the arrogant and jeering tone of the 
song, "Marching through Georgia," and bridled when North- 
ern orators described Sherman's army going through the con- 
quered land "like the plow of God." Sherman personified all 
that the South had suffered. 

The most contentious bone over which the wrangling oc- 
curred was the destruction of Columbia. As much bitterness 
was generated over the issue of "Who burnt Columbia?" as 
the question of Confederate responsibility for the suffering of 
Andersonville. Sherman's own defense was to blame General 
Wade Hampton, who ordered the Confederate retreat from 
the South Carolina capital. The charge was made deliberately 
in Sherman's official report. "I did it," he later wrote, "point- 
edly to shake the faith of his people in him, for he was, in 
my opinion, a braggart, and professed to be the special cham- 
pion of South Carolina." Hampton immediately countered by 
accusing Sherman of premeditated destruction of the city. And 
so a question of intricate perplexity to the historian became 
one on which partisans of the time took definite stands. "Hur- 

11 Southern Review, II (1867), 5- 

12 See B. W. Jones, "Under the Stars and Bars" (Richmond, 1909), 14. 
18 B. J. Johnson, "A Memoir of the Life and Public Service of Joseph E. 

Johnston" (Baltimore, 1891), 157. 


rah for Columbia!" exulted Phillips Brooks in the North. 
"Isn't Sherman a gem? 7 ' But the South had the ashes of a city 
and the experience of a terrible night of pillage to remember. 

The debate persisted. Books and pamphlets were written. 
Testimony of eye-witnesses was collected in public mass meet- 
ings held as late as 1867 in South Carolina. Claims for dam- 
ages for property destroyed in the fire were made and Con- 
gress created a commission to take evidence. The report, made 
in 1873, fr^d the United States from responsibility for dam- 
ages, but North and South each read in the accumulated evi- 
dence vindication of its accusation against the other. 14 

The South was further irritated by the arrest and imprison- 
ment of Jefferson Davis. It was not unnatural, considering 
the bitter partisanship that every civil war breeds, to find the 
victors determined to exact some vengeance from the leader 
of the defeated side. There was a widespread clamor for the 
execution of Davis. Northern opinion considered him the chief 
author of secession, the fountain head of treason. "It was his 
hand," it was declared and generally believed, "that shed the 
blood or caused the death of more than a quarter million of 
men and the waste and destruction of more than six thousand 
millions of property." 15 Troops had marched to war singing 
the refrain "Well hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree." The 
whole North laughed at the jeering newspaper reports of 
Davis's capture "in women's clothes." Davis was personally 
held responsible for the worst conditions at Andersonville. 
When Lincoln was assassinated high government officials 
charged Davis with complicity in the crime. Secretary of War 
Stanton summed up the Northern case against Davis when, as 
late as January 4, 1866, he asserted that the Confederate Presi- 

14 The official reports of Sherman and Hampton are found in Official Rec- 
ords of the Rebellion, XL VII, pt. I, p. 21, and pt 2, p. 596. See also, W. T. 
Sherman, "Memoirs" (New York, 1875), II, 287; Allen, "Phillips Brooks," 
II, 526; W. G. Simms, Letter on the Sack and Destruction of Columbia 
(Charleston, 1865) ; D. H. Trezevant, "The Burning of Columbia" (Colum- 
bia, 1866) ; W. H. Peck, "The McDonalds, or Ashes of Southern Homes" 
(New York, 1867) ; Report of the Committee to Collect Testimony in Rela- 
tion to the Destruction of Columbia (Columbia, 1893) J and Report of the 
Proceedings and Results of the Mixed Commission on American and British 
Claims, 43 Cong., i Sess., Foreign Relations, III, 50. For a typical debate in 
Congress see Congressional Globe, May, I, 1866. 

15 Senator Howard of Michigan, Congressional Globe, Feb. i, 1866. 


dent was guilty of treason, "of inciting the assassination of 
Abraham Lincoln," and of "the murder of Union prisoners 
of war by starvation and other barbarous and cruel treat- 
ment." 16 

Davis was imprisoned in Fortress Monroe on May 22, 1865. 
At first he was forcibly placed in irons, but these were re- 
moved four days later. Until October he was confined in a 
cell that was deleterious to his health. After October his treat- 
ment was good. Meanwhile the prosecution against him moved 
slowly. It was not until May 13, 1867, that he was brought be- 
fore a court of law. By that time the hysteria prevailing at 
the time of his arrest had abated. Charles O'Connor, an able 
New York attorney, was able to prove that much of the evi- 
dence connecting Davis with the assassination of Lincoln was 
perjury. The charge that Davis had murdered Union prisoners, 
much as it might be fixed in public opinion, was recognized to 
be unprovable in law. A Northern physician, Colonel John J. 
Craven, who had attended Davis in prison, published early in 
1866 a book, "The Prison Life of Jefferson Davis," in which 
he conveyed the idea that Davis had been harshly treated. 
Further delay in prosecuting Davis seemed unjust. He was 
brought before the United States Circuit Court for Virginia. 
The Government's case was still not ready for prosecution. 
The Court thereupon released the prisoner on bond. The trial 
was never held. Davis was finally freed from all charges against 
him under terms of the general pardon extended to all who had 
participated in rebellion by President Johnson in his procla- 
mation of December 25, 1868. 

The South received Davis's "persecution" with consterna- 
tion. "If there was guilt in any," wrote Sidney Lanier, "there 
was guilt in nigh all of us. ... Mr. Davis, if he be termed 
the ringleader of the rebellion, was so not by virtue of any 
instigating act of his, but purely by the unanimous will and ap- 
pointment of the Southern people. . . . The hearts of the 
Southern people bleed to see how their own act has resulted in 
the chaining of Mr. Davis, who was as innocent as they, and 
in the pardon of those who were as guilty as he!" 17 Davis in 

10 Official Records of the Rebellion, Series II, vol. VIII, 843. 
17 Lanier, "Tiger Lilies," 120. 


forcibly resisting the placing of irons around his ankles sounded 
the note of the Southern protest. "I will not submit to in- 
dignities by which it is sought to degrade in my person the 
cause of which I was a representative/' The response could not 
be made moderately. And so it was the irreconcilable Southern 
Review that in this crisis acted as spokesman for the entire 
section in condemnation of the "barbarous violence" in Fort- 
ress Monroe. 

The ultimate release of Davis on May 13, 1867, and his 
complete pardon under the President's proclamation of De- 
cember 25, 1868, constitute one of the most important of the 
early triumphs of reconciliation. Had he been executed an ir- 
retrievable step would have been taken which would have in- 
delibly stamped into the Southern heart a feeling of ineradi- 
cable wrong. Even as it was, bitterness over Davis remained to 
separate the sections. The Boston Advertiser interpreted 
Southern rejoicing over the release of Davis as defiance. 
Horace Greeley was made to feel the unpopularity of his ac- 
tion in contributing to the fund for Davis's bail by seeing the 
sale of his recently published history, "The American Con- 
flict," almost cease. The Nation, a journal of moderate opinion, 
as late as 1876 maintained that Davis was morally responsible 
for Andersonville. 

An episode in the summer of 1875 indicated that seven 
years after the imprisonment the North still wanted no peace 
with Jefferson Davis. In May the manager of the county fair 
to be held at Rockford, Illinois, invited Davis to deliver an 
address in September that would contribute to the "promo- 
tion of sectional peace." 18 A similar invitation to address the 
county fair at Columbus, Indiana, which would also meet in 
September, was extended. All mercenary motives were dis- 
claimed, although the hope was expressed that the large funds 
required to bring the Confederate President North might be 
recovered through the larger attendance his presence would 
attract. Davis accepted the invitations, professing the hope that 

18 The episode is best followed through the correspondence exchanged 
between Davis and the manager, printed in D. Rowland (ed.), "Jefferson 
Davis" (Jackson, 1923), VII, 422-435. 


an opportunity to speak in the North might be a means of al- 
laying sectional antipathies. 

An olive branch in the hands of Jefferson Davis was too 
shocking a spectacle for the North to endure. Disdainfully the 
token was refused. The proposed exchange of honeyed phrases 
of fraternal greetings did not materialize. Instead insults were 
beaten back and forth to exacerbate the sores of sectional tm- 
neighborliness. The ridiculous exhibition embarrassed the mod- 
erate men who found it difficult to promote peace and Davis in 
combination. Again the extremists throve on controversy un- 
happily aroused. No sooner had the invitation been extended 
than the Rockford post of the Grand Army of the Republic 
met to condemn the insult of asking this "arch-traitor to ad- 
dress the relatives and surviving friends of thirteen thousand 
men murdered at Andersonville alone by his orders." 19 The 
Chicago Tribune pointed the finger of scorn at what it con- 
sidered the mercenary motives of the managers of the fair 
who asked Davis "to seal the era of reconciliation for $400" 
while Davis held out for five hundred dollars. Indignation 
meetings assembled throughout the state, the press of the en- 
tire country joined in the debate, and the proposed visit was 
canceled. The managers took consolation in the belief that the 
"best men among us approved your coming," while Davis ex- 
pressed the pious hope that eventually "some of the prejudices 
generated by partizan factions and nurtured by individual and 
sectional hate" might be removed. Meanwhile it possibly oc- 
curred to neither to reflect on the mischief the ill-advised ef- 
fort had accomplished. The weakest beam had been selected 
to bridge the chasm. Its wreckage would prove an embarrass- 
ment in the future to those who sought a more intelligent con- 

If Davis embodied in Northern opinion the hateful memo- 
ries of the Civil War, the South in much the same manner 
cherished a hateful image of the martyred Lincoln. Lincoln, 
the candidate of 1860, had been represented as the blackest 
Republican preaching the House Divided. He became the Presi- 
dent who carried out in action his prophecy of war and de- 

19 Nation, Aug. 19, 1875. 


struction. He and his cabinet, wrote the Southern Review, 
had a 

perfect comprehension of the passions, prejudices, susceptibilities, 
vices and virtues, knowledge and ignorance of the people upon 
whom they had to practice. They knew every quiver of the pop- 
ular pulse, and what it signified. They could weigh out, to a 
grain, the small quantity of truth to which the public appetite 
was equal, and they perfectly understood and measured the su- 
pernatural extent to which the popular conception could assimilate 
falsehood. They were masters of every artifice that could mystify 
or mislead, and of every trick that could excite hope, or con- 
fidence, or rage. . . . Understanding their pit thus well, they 
played to it, with wonderful tact and effect. They filled their 
armies, established their financial system, controlled the press, 
and silenced opposition, by the same ingenious and bold impos- 
ture. 20 

Lincoln, the South believed, won by trickery and by force 
vindictively applied. Here was a further grievance that time 
alone could remedy. 

As long as these hurtful memories persisted a true union of 
emotion necessary to nationalism was impossible. This was 
revealed in a number of minor incidents. The South sneered 
at a North which observed the Fourth of July and "at the 
same time denounced as damnable heresy the doctrines of the 
Declaration of Independence." When the North celebrated the 
completion of Field's transatlantic cable as an American 
achievement the South felt no similar thrill of pride. When 
Chicago was destroyed by fire in 1871 it was considered no 
national tragedy by at least the more radically tempered South- 
erner who deemed it a "demonstration of Divine vengeance/' 
because it had been in Chicago that "the rowdy Lincoln, the 
prime official agent of all our woes, was nominated." When 
dirges in the North expressed the nation's sorrow for the loss 
of General Custer in the massacre of 1876, it was remembered 
in Virginia that the gallant martyr of the Little Big Horn was 
also the Custer who had executed seven captured Confederates 

20 Southern Review, I (1867), 236. See also Jubal A. Early, Address before 
the South Carolina Survivors' Association, November 10, 1871, 37. 


of Mosby's command without treating them as prisoners of 

It was impossible for moderation to flourish in such an 
atmosphere. The man of vindictive bias and recriminating 
taste commanded more than normal influence. Typical of the 
group in the South was A. T. Bledsoe, the founder and editor 
of the most recalcitrant of the Southern jou'rnals of opinion. 
For eleven years from its founding in 1867 to Bledsoe's death 
in 1878, the Southern Review was a channel of vituperative 
hatred directed against the North. In the North the most influ- 
ential organ in the same period was possibly Harper's Weekly, 
with its editorials by G. W. Curtis and its cartoons by Thomas 
Nast. Its prevailing tone was the non-forgetting and the 
non-forgiving of men "who had betrayed their trust," and 
forced "Union soldiers to rot in Andersonville and Libby 

The unreconciled impressions were kept alive in the earliest 
memoirs written by the leading actors in the conflict. No book 
of this time received greater acclamation in the South than 
Admiral Semmes's personal narratives, "The Cruise of the Ala- 
bama and the Sumter," and "Memoirs of Service Afloat." 
Apart from the interest in the story of Confederate successes 
on the high seas, the South was gratified to find that the books 
embodied an argument justifying secession on constitutional 
and political grounds. Sherman's "Memoirs," published in 
1875, was equally popular in the North and gave pleasure in 
much the same way. The General was unequivocal in con- 
demnation of the South (far more so here than in his private 
letters) and took an almost lustful pride in describing the 
tremendous power his hand had wielded in spreading terror 
and destruction. Read together the books are eloquent of the 
division between the sections. 

The desire to be moderate stumbled against the necessity 
to maintain the right. This is well exemplified in the cases 
of a prominent clergymen and a distinguished scholar. Henry 
Ward Beecher was never a Radical in the Reconstruction era. 
He found much to admire in the way the South had borne its 
burden of defeat. He believed that forgiveness was both 
Christian and statesmanlike. "But reconciliation," he asserted 


as late as 1878, "would be a weakness if it glozes over 
the criminality" in the Southern past. "We dishonor our 
dead when we make no distinction between those who died 
for liberty and those who died for slavery. Reconcilia- 
tion purchased by rubbing out the whole meaning of the war, 
the moral significance of its results, the grandeur to man- 
kind of its influence, is not a compromise, but a sur- 
render." 21 

Much the same psychology dominated John W. Draper, who 
in the years 1867 to 1870 published a three-volume "History 
of the American Civil War/' the first detailed survey of the 
struggle by a trained scholar. According to his own confession 
he listened to "the voice of philosophy . . . calming our pas- 
sions, suggesting new views of things about which we con- 
tended, whispering excuses for our antagonist, and persuading 
us that there is nothing we shall ever regret in fraternal for- 
giveness for the injuries we have received." Draper did try to 
shoulder "climate" with the responsibility of "making us a 
many diversified people" who "in the nature of things . . . 
must have our misunderstandings and our quarrels." But in 
the narrative Draper emphasizes the sin of slavery as the factor 
which brought the nation to the brink of destruction, he declares 
secession a conspiracy, and he speaks of the outcome of the 
war as a retribution to those who had started it. Finally there 
appears this bit of moralizing, 

Shall he who writes the story of this hideous war hide from 
his readers its fearful lesson? ... If in the future there should 
be any who undertakes to fire the heart of his people, and to set 
in mortal battle a community against the nation, let us leave him 
without the excuse which the war secessionist of our time may 
perhaps not unjustly plead, that he knew not what he did. Let 
us put our experience in the primer of every child; let us make 
it the staple of the novel of every school girl; let us tear from 
this bloody conflict its false grandeur and tinsel glories, and set 
it naked in the light of day a spectacle to blanch the cheek of 
the bravest man, and make the heart of every mother flutter as 
she sits by her candle. 

21 Beecher, Address to the Society of the Army of the Potomac, Spring- 
field, Mass., June 5, 1878. 


This being sober history of the day, it is perhaps not surpris- 
ing that Bledsoe, who was attempting to put a different ex- 
perience into the primer of every Southern child, should con- 
demn Draper's book as one "literally stuffed with the lying 
traditions, the cunningly devised fables, and the vile calumnies, 
with which a partizan press and a Puritanical pulpit have 
flooded the North/' 22 

Unreconciled views entered into the textbooks used in the 
schools and were so transmitted to the youth of the country. 
Thus Worcester's "Elements of History, Ancient and Mod- 
ern" (1866 edition) affirmed that "Confederate prisoners at 
the North were comfortably housed and fed; but the inhuman 
treatment and horrible suffering of Federal soldiers in South- 
ern prisons form one of the most shocking chapters in the his- 
tory of the Rebellion." The widely used Peter Parley "Pic- 
torial History of the United States" (1867 edition) by S. G. 
Goodrich was surcharged with the spirit of Northern su- 
periority quietly introduced in contrasts such as the statements 
that Virginia was settled by "vagabond gentlemen" while New 
England was settled by a "pious and excellent people." A dif- 
ferent sort of bias appeared in Emma Willard's "History of 
the United States" (1869 edition). Her factual narrative is 
inoffensive to the extent of being dull, but much greater em- 
phasis and space is given to New England's role in the nation's 
history than to the South's. Also temperate in tone was Quack- 
enbos' "Illustrated School History of the United States." The 
prewar editions of this text had been characterized by evasive- 
ness on all debatable issues. The editions of 1867, 1868, and 
1871 seemed equally noncommittal. Nevertheless both Willard 
and Quackenbos were condemned in the South along with more 
extreme partisans. Perhaps their chief fault in Southern eyes 
was the moralizing tone which saw in Southern defeat retri- 
bution for the sins of slavery and secession. 

As was to be expected, Southern textbooks were fewer in 
number and later in date. They were written from a bias which 
emphasized Southern achievement in the colonial and national 
periods, expounded the constitutional doctrines of state rights 
and secession, and told the story of the Civil War from the 

22 Southern Review, III (1868), 4-5. 


Confederate point of view. J. S. Blackburn and W. N. 
McDonald's "New School History of the United States" 
(1870), was apparently the first in the series of Southern 
school histories. It was as moderate in its pro-Southern bias as 
Quackenbos or Willard were in their pro-Northern. More 
partisan was Alexander H. Stephens's "Compendium of the 
History of the United States" (1872), designed for purposes 
of a textbook. In general a perusal of these early textbooks 
reveals not so much intemperance in the authors themselves as 
in the public which received them. North and South, parents 
were more insistent than the textbook writers that only their 
special brands of "truth" be taught. 

Organized religion offered another battleground of acrimoni- 
ous controversy. At one time all the great protestant sects, with 
the exception of the Congregational churches, which existed 
only in New England or where New England influence ex- 
tended, had been truly national in organization and member- 
ship. As national bodies it had been in the interests of unity 
to maintain a moderate and conciliatory attitude toward the 
bitter animosities which political rivalries engendered. Con- 
servatives, interested in preserving their churches as "dwelling 
houses of Christian unity/' had worked constantly for peace, 
hoping to avoid dissension through evasion, by insisting that 
it was not the role of religion to assume a position on political 
issues. But the clash of interests over slavery and disunion had 
sectionalized the churches and bred in churchmen the virulence 
of radicalism. Moderation of men seeking unity was replaced 
by the extremism of men justifying division. Faiths which had 
once been bonds of national communion had now become 
agencies of discord. 

The unity of the Methodist Episcopal Church had been dis- 
rupted as early as 1844 when the Northern majority resolved 
that slavery was a moral sin and therefore carne within the 
purview of the church, and that bishops of the church could 
not be slaveholders. The Southern delegates had denounced 
this action as interference with established civil institutions and 
declared that the establishment of a separate Southern church 
was necessary to enable them to perform their proper func- 
tion of preaching the gospel to a slave-owning community. 


Such a church, organized in 1846, justified its secession and 
independence on the tenet that the "peculiar mission of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church South is that it alone stands for 
the Christian principle of keeping out of politics." M While the 
split was in process of development churchmen were governed 
by intense passion. Charges of sinfulness, blasphemy, and 
heresy were freely made on either side and read into solemn 
resolutions where they remained to rankle in the future. 

The Baptist church divided in 1845 on the same issue of 
the propriety of moral agitation of slavery. The more con- 
servative Presbyterian church cohered until the Civil War had 
actually begun. Then in May 1861 the Assembly adopted the 
comparatively mild resolution that in its judgment "it is the 
duty of the ministry and churches under its care to do all in 
their power to promote and perpetuate the integrity of the 
United States, and to strengthen and encourage the Federal 
Government." 24: This was sufficient provocation to cause the 
secession of the Southern element and the establishment of a 
Southern Presbyterian church which, like the Southern Metho- 
dists, "planted itself upon the Word of God and utterly re- 
fused to make slaveholding a sin or non-slaveholding a term 
of communion." 25 In the same year the Protestant Episcopal 
Church separated as an incidence of the war, and, peculiar to 
itself, with the exchange of a minimum of contumely. 26 

Had division accomplished peace and good neighborship in 
two houses it would have been preferable to the internecine war 
that had existed around one hearthstone. But in this instance 
division meant merely the drawing off of extremists into op- 
posite camps from which they could better direct their war- 
fare against each other. The moderates were crushed between 
the accomplished fact of disunion which they had attempted to 
prevent and the swelling enthusiasm for the war. Each section 
of the church moved steadily to more extreme positions. 

23 Southern Review, X (1872), 338. 

2 *L. G. Vander Velde, "The Presbyterian Churches and the Federal 
Union, 1861-1869" (Cambridge, 1932), 50. 

25 Address of the Southern General Assembly to all the Churches of Jesus 
Christ, printed in R. E. Thompson's "History of the Presbyterian Church in 
the United States" (New York, 1895), 388-406. 

26 M. Mohler, "The Episcopal Church and National Reconciliation," Po- 
litical Science Quarterly, XLI (1926), 567-595. 


North and South, patriotism was preached as a religious duty. 
The objectives of the combatants were translated into moral 
values. Northern pulpits assailed slavery and disunion as sins. 
Southern pulpits upheld them as sacred foundations of society 
and charged the North with sinful conduct in acting against 
them. It is no exaggeration to affirm that the churches in 
both sections became the chief recruiting agencies and the 
chief builders of morale. 

In the heat of the war years the Southern churches de- 
scended from the high spiritual ground of aloofness from poli- 
tics which they had taken to justify their secession from their 
Northern brethren. Thus the Southern Presbyterian Church, 
somewhat inconsistently with its action of 1861, passed in 
1862 a resolution which read in part, 

Deeply convinced that this struggle is not alone for civil rights 
and propetfy and home, but also for religion, for the church, for 
the gospel, for existence itself, the churches in our connection 
have freely contributed to its prosecution of their substance, their 
prayers, and above all of their members, and the beloved youths 
of their congregations. . . . The Assembly desires to record, 
with its solemn approval, this fact of the unanimity of our people 
in supporting a contest in which religion as well as patriotism now 
summons the citizens of this country, and implore for them the 
blessing of God in the course they are pursuing. 27 

In 1864 the same body announced that "we hesitate not to 
affirm that it is the peculiar mission of the Southern Church to 
conserve the institution of slavery, and to make it a blessing 
both to master and slave." 

Meanwhile the Presbyterian Church in the North was un- 
dergoing a similar transformation from conservatism to rad- 
icalism. The Assembly of 1862 resolved that "this whole 
treason, rebellion, anarchy, fraud, and violence" was "utterly 
contrary to the dictates of natural religion and morality, and 
plainly condemned by the revealed will of God." The Assembly 
of 1864 was even more plain spoken in extreme condemnation 
of the "wickedness and calamities of the rebellion," and "the 

27 T. C Johnson, "History of the Southern Presbyterian Church" (New 
York, 1894), 427. 


evil and guilt of slavery." As one conservative ruefully in- 
quired, "Could the Church go further in its adulterous inter- 
course with the State?'' 28 

The extreme commitment of organized Protestantism to the 
war objectives of their respective sections was the first great 
barrier to church reunion after the war had ended. The South- 
ern Methodists and Baptists early affirmed that the abolition 
of slavery did not affect the basic principle, which the North 
had violated and was still violating, of the impropriety of mix- 
ing religion and politics. 29 Curiously blind to their own activ- 
ity, the Southern Methodists never forgave the Northern 
Church for the active part it had assumed in the waging of 
the war. The Southern Presbyterians refused to accept frater- 
nal greetings from the Northern church because they were 
unaccompanied by apologies and withdrawals of the earlier 
accusations of sinfulness and heresy. 30 

Added injuries were inflicted when Northern missionaries 
moved into the South with the advancing armies. Secretary 
of War Stanton in 1863 adopted the policy of seizing the prop- 
erty of Southern churches that came within the Union lines and 
turning it over for occupancy to the officials of the correspond- 
ing Northern sect. Here was an "unnatural crime" that deeply 
wounded the susceptibilities of the Southern religious bodies. 
The practice also produced a great number of acerbating law- 
suits for the recovery or retention of churches thus allocated. 
Here was some bad history that was not soon forgotten. As a 
prominent Southern Methodist stated, it "has made reunion 
impossible for at least a generation. There cannot be the con- 
fidence and respect for the men engaged in this business which 
would make church fellowship with them profitable or even 
tolerable." 81 

While the Southern churches were sullenly determined to 
have no communion with the victors, the Northern churches 
assumed an attitude that was ill adapted to the delicacy of the 
situation. This attitude was based upon a confident assump- 

28 Minutes of the General Assembly, 1862, 1864. See also Vander Velde, 
"Presbyterian Churches," 127-130. 

29 Applet ons' Annual Cyclopedia (1866), 553. 
80 Ibid. (1870), 621-622. 

^Southern Review, X (1872), 417. 


tion that the triumph of the Federal armies meant the end of 
separate churches in exactly the same sense it meant the end 
of Southern political independence. Just as the state had its 
problem of reconstruction, so also the Northern churches an- 
nounced their policy to be the disintegration and absorption of 
the schismatical Southern bodies. Many believed that the "re- 
bellious defiance of lawful authority which has racked the 
Nation to its foundations during the four years of war" was 
born in "the Church of God." 32 Prompt and decisive action 
seemed imperative if the "offspring of heresy, corruption, and 
all unrighteousness" were to be exterminated and "those who 
have gone out from us upon vain and wicked pretexts . . . 
may know the cost of setting at defiance the authority which 
Christ has given to his Church. " S8 

The Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches adopted 
the policy of regarding the South as a missionary field. Among 
Presbyterians the prevailing sentiment was for making "en- 
larged and most vigorous efforts in all parts of ... defunct 
Confederacy." Inasmuch as the secessionists had "knowingly 
sinned in slavery and in treason" conditions of repentance must 
be exacted. Thus ministers who had been active rebels "should 
never be permitted to return to our church as teachers or 
rulers." Others less sinful, "upon proper sense of their sins, 
and upon proper confessions and promises, might be restored." 
But in all cases "a scheme of readjustment or reconstruction" 
would have to be devised. The policy of the church was officially 
defined in the Assembly of 1865. The Board of Domestic Mis- 
sions was directed to "take prompt and effectual measures to 
restore and build up the Presbyterian congregations in the 
Southern States of this Union by the appointment and support 
of prudent and devoted missionaries." Needless to say, no 
missionaries were to be appointed who could not give "satis- 
factory evidence of their loyalty to the national government." 84 

This action was obviously a declaration of war against the 
Southern Presbyterian Church, a war to be waged in the lat- 
ter's field, for communicants whose past loyalties had been to 

^Thesis of R. L. Stanton's "The Church and the Rebellion" (New York, 

88 Moderator's speech of acceptance, Presbyterian Assembly of 1866. 
84 Vander Velde, "The Presbyterian Churches," 197, 222-223, 500. 


the Confederacy. It should have appeared obvious that such 
people could have been won only by generous terms. But the 
Northern missionaries came as conquerors. The Assembly 
steeled them with rigid instructions contained in the following 
resolves : 

Whereas, During the existence of the great rebellion ... a 
large number of Presbyteries and Synods in the Southern States 
. . . have organised an Assembly denominated "The General 
Assembly of the Confederate States of America," in order to 
render aid in the attempt to establish ... a separate national 
existence, and to "conserve and perpetuate the system of slavery," 

Resolved, i. That this Assembly regards the perpetuation of 
Negro slavery as a great crime, both against our National Govern- 
ment and against God, and the secession of those Presbyteries 
and Synods from the Presbyterian Church, unwarranted, schis- 
matical, and unconstitutional. 

Resolved, 2. That this General Assembly does not intend to 
abandon the territory in which these churches are found. . . . 
On the contrary, this Assembly hereby declares that it will recog- 
nize such loyal persons as constituting the Churches, Presbyteries 
and Synods, in all the bounds of the schism, and will use earnest 
endeavours to restore and revive all such churches and church 
courts. 35 

The Methodist Episcopal Church acted with equal vigor. 
Conferences or mission conferences were established to include 
all portions of the South. Theological schools were established 
in New Orleans and Charleston and two weekly religious 
journals were published from the same centers. 86 The Baptists 
were also in the field. The General Assembly of 1865 ex- 
pressed "a readiness to cooperate with their Southern brethren 
in the fellowship of Christian labor," and then immediately 
nullified the gesture by attaching to it the condition that the 
Southerners must admit the sin of slavery and profess loyalty 
to the Government. 37 

The answer to these threats of absorption was instantaneous. 

ttd. t 198. 

^Appletons' Animal Cyclopedia (1866), 488. 
37 Ibid. (1865), 106. 


The South determined to "keep ourselves distinct in matters 
of faith and church government." "One thing is obvious at a 
glance/ ' wrote a Methodist. "In case of reunion, the Northern 
Church would give its character to the whole organization." 88 
No Southern church of the larger denominations believed that 
it could trust the direction of its destiny to the Northern ma- 

The General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church 
adopted resolutions in December 1865 to remain "a separate 
and distinct ecclesiastical body." The Southern Baptist asso- 
ciations that met during the year 1865 were unanimously in 
favor of a continuance of separation. They seemed especially 
intent on censuring the American Home Mission Society, an 
agency of the Northern Baptists, for obtaining from the Fed- 
eral government authority to take possession of Southern 
church property. Likewise the Methodist bishops of the South 
issued a pastoral letter in which they asserted that "whatever 
banner had fallen or been furled, that of Southern Methodism 
was still unfurled; whatever cause had been lost, that of South- 
ern Methodism survived." Grievances were mentioned which 
still made disunion imperative, notably the "political practices" 
of the Northern church and the intrusion into Southern pulpits 
of Northern missionaries. The General Conference of April 
1866 officially declared for permanent independence and an- 
nounced that if there "be any Church or Association wishing 
to unite with us, they shall be received on giving satisfactory 
evidence of belief in our articles of religion, and willing to con- 
form to our discipline." The Episcopal Church alone of the 
larger churches was able to reunite. 89 

For the most part the policy of disintegration and absorption 
failed in its objective and resulted in perpetuating the fatal 
division among the churches. Its one achievement was the cap- 
ture by the Northern churches of the great bulk of the Negroes. 
This was a further injury to the Southern churches. Thus the 
Methodist Episcopal Church South had 207,776 colored mem- 
bers in 1860 and only 48,742 in 1866. The Negro seemed as 
unwilling to take his religion as his politics from his former 

88 Southern Review, X ( 1872) , 386. 

**Appletons' Annual Cyclopaedia (1865), 106, 553, 706; (1866), 490-491, 


masters. The Southern churches were forced to relinquish much 
of their evangelical work among the freedmen, while the 
Northern missionaries, making no headway among the South- 
ern whites, turned all their energies to the blacks. The Ameri- 
can Baptist Home Missionary Society (North) was very active 
in organizing colored churches, sustaining ministers in the 
field, financing churches, and establishing schools. The Pres- 
byterian Assembly (North) made special efforts to "instruct 
and evangelize and gather into churches" the colored popula- 
tion. The Methodists seemed to make greater progress than 
any of the other sects, African churches established in the 
North before the Civil War found in emancipation a golden 
opportunity to expand into the South. The American Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church Zion, the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church, and the Colored Baptists made tremendous strides. 
The Zion Church alone grew from 13,340 members in 1864 
to 225,000 in 1876. The Southern churches attempted to hold 
their own by organizing separate colored churches under their 
jurisdiction. But it was a losing contest, and at best it con- 
verted the entire South into a tremendous battleground. The 
fight for Negro members was added to the memories of the 
original break, the disputes over property, and the threat of 
absorption, as an unmovable barrier to reunion. 40 

The hope of reconciliation within the Presbyterian Church 
was permanently defeated in 1866 when the rigid stand on re- 
instating Confederate sympathizers led to the dissolution of the 
"disloyal" Louisville Presbytery, further divisions in the bor- 
der states, renewed recriminations, and additional suits at law 
over the possession of property. 41 Reunion was a topic for dis- 
cussion among the bishops and in the assemblies of the Meth- 
odist Churches from 1869 to the end of the seventies. But in 
spite of delegations appointed to "convey fraternal greetings" 
from one group to the other and back again no headway was 
ever made beyond the fixed resolution of the Southern Church 

40 G. Alexander, "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church South" 
(New York, 1894), 86, 91-92; W. C. Whitaker, "History of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in Alabama" (Birmingham, 1898), 197-198; Appletons' 
Annual Cyclopedia (1866), 468, (1867), 87; Johnson, "The Southern Presby- 
terian Church," 381. 

41 Appletons' Annual Cyclopaedia (1866), 621. 


that "it is the judgment of this Conference that the true in- 
terests of the Church of Christ require and demand the main- 
tenance of our separate distinct organizations." 42 The most 
that the Baptists could achieve was a resolution "not to pro- 
pose any organic connection, but to cultivate fraternal affec- 
tion. " 43 Such resolutions of good will and the pious expressions 
of fraternity usually came to naught in face of the vexatious 
problems which arose out of the rival policies of the churches. 
The suggestions to reconcile did little more than advertise the 
fact that churchmen of the country's three largest denomina- 
tions were still standing on the record of their Civil War diver- 

The net result was that the churches remained sectional 
bodies, an antagonistic element in the integration of national 
life. Not only did the work of religion and social improvement 
suffer from the lack of harmony, the future was also to reveal 
the sorry spectacle of clergymen standing as the most radical 
of sectionalists. The Nation described the situation in the North 
when it wrote, "Churches are doing their full share in causing 
permanent division. Undoubtedly four fifths of Protestant 
churches are Republican. In the Methodist Episcopal Church 
fully nine tenths are. A part of their creed seems to be that 
Southern people are sinners, and that it is the duty of good 
Christians so to vote as to teach them that fact. They support 
such men as Chandler, Morton, Logan, and Grant/' M In the 
South the presence of unreconcilable clergymen was also com- 
mon. Such a figure was Robert Lewis Dabney, one of the most 
eminent theologians in the Presbyterian Church. His aversion 
to all things Northern made for a rock-ribbed conservatism 
that opposed such doctrines as evolution and public schools, 
partly because they prevailed in Yankeedom. Bitter and ir- 
reconcilable till his death in 1898, he led the Southern church- 
men in resistance to reunion, in fighting the liberalism of Dr. 
Woodrow, and in attacking the programs for wider educa- 

42 Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia (1870), 491. 

** Minutes of the Southern Baptist Convention (1868), 27. 

44 Nation, June 12, 1879. The failure of the Presbyterians to reunite in the 
i88o's led to widespread editorializing in the press. See Public Opinion, III 
(1887), 184-185, and Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia (1882), 702-703 ; (1883), 
653; (1884), 667; (1887), 691-693; (1888), 698-700; (1889), 7I3-7IS. 


tional advantages. Toward the North his attitude never changed 
from what it had been when in 1870 he declared, "I do not 
forgive. I try not to forgive. What ! forgive those people, who 
have invaded our country, burned our cities, destroyed our 
homes, slain our young men, and spread desolation and ruin 
over our land ! No, I do not forgive them." 45 

Moral agitation over the Negro in slavery, which had done 
so much to disrupt the unity of the churches, had also been a 
vital factor in sectionalizing the nation. "Our provincialism," 
wrote a Southern bishop, "is . . . explained by one fact and 
one word slavery." 4S When emancipation came as a conse- 
quence of the war many professed to see in it the end of sec- 
tionalism. Thus a Georgian asserted that the South "will 
heartily embrace the political creed of the Union" now that 
the Southern "nationalizing tendency has been destroyed by 
the removal of slavery." 47 Beecher likewise wrote, "Slavery 
being removed, the cause of collision is removed. ... Of all 
guarantees of future harmony of the North and South, the 
best is the effectual extermination of slavery." 4S Yet Beecher 
was wrong. The history of the fifteen years after 1865 was 
to demonstrate that the freedman was to be a source of sec- 
tional strife almost as baneful as the slave. The Negro re- 
mained a rock separating the current of national life in angry 

Emancipation dictated that the Negro was to have a new 
status without defining what that status was to be. The determi- 
nation of the Negro's future thereupon became the issue. A 
bitter competitive struggle was precipitated in which the true 
interests of the Negro disappeared. The South maintained 
that the problem was a domestic one in which it alone should 
participate. The North in reply pointed to the responsibility it 
had assumed when it suddenly bestowed freedom upon the 
Negro. The South believed that its social stability required a 
discipline over the inferior race and expressed its program of 

45 T. C Johnson, "Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney" (Richmond, 
1 903), 352. 

46 A, G. Haygood, The New South (Sermon preached at Oxford, Georgia, 
Nov. 25, 1880), 14. 

4T J. C. Reed, The Old and New South (pamphlet, New York, 1876), 15. 
48 Beecher, "Conditions of a Restored Union, Oct. 29, 1865," in "Patriotic 
Addresses/ 1 718. 


what should be done in the "Black Codes" of 1865 and 1866. 
The North interpreted this action to mean that the South was 
attempting to perpetuate as much of slavery as conditions per- 
mitted, and read its conception of the civil rights needed by 
the Negro into the practices of the Freedmen's Bureau. The 
result was rivalry in the field of race relations. The South was 
horror-stricken with the idea of enfranchising a mass of illit- 
erate and unpropertied people. The North could see no way 
in which a downtrodden class could defend itself unless it were 
granted the suffrage. The South could conceive of no society 
that did not recognize the validity of racial segregation. The 
North in time seemed ready to force upon the South an equal- 
ity that extended through all the walks of life. The South in 
accepting freedom for the blacks believed that it had made 
all the surrender entailed by the war. The North under Radical 
direction held that anything less than "absolute equality of 
every man before the law" would "be a practical surrender of 
the North to the South." 

The Negro and all that pertained to him accordingly formed 
a continuance of hostilities between the victors and the van- 
quished. Folly and passion characterized the approach to a 
problem that would yield only to the most considerate cooper- 
ation. The North was inclined to be impatient, to insist upon 
an immediate solution. The South in face of the constant 
pressure and menace of power from outside throughout the 
Reconstruction period failed to admit that there was any 
problem except to reassert control by the white man. Mean- 
while the Negro, "drunk with freedom" and the football of 
Reconstruction politics, was largely unfitted for progress by 
the noise made over him. 

Many Northerners went into the South with good inten- 
tions of bringing to the Negro religion, education, and a better 
life. There were zealots among them who had been swept into 
a frenzy of idealism by the wartime clamor of "making all 
men free." Some were unquestioned self-seekers. But most of 
the newcomers were good people volunteering for a service of 
uplifting the lowly and degraded. They had the urge to serve 
but not the knowledge either of the field in which they were 
to work or of the freedmen with whom they were to work. 


The only possible hope for success was a combination of tact 
on their part, a welcome reception from the Southern whites, 
and sobriety among the Negroes. Not one of these elements was 
present. The Northern humanitarians arrogantly ignored the 
importance of the contribution that might have been made by 
the Southern whites. The latter ostracized the humanitarians, 
shutting them off as bad and dangerous influences. The Negro 
fell the prey first to the Carpetbagger who seduced him with 
the suffrage and then to Ku Kluxism of an aroused white 
population which beat him back into discipline. Mistakes, mis- 
judgments, heartburnings, alienation of races, and division of 
North and South, were the consequences of this first essay in 
race relations under freedom. 

The issue of whether the Negro should be the ward of the 
South or the ward of the Nation, took on a more sinister ex- 
pression when the Republican party asserted a proprietary in- 
terest in the freedman. It is a truism of Reconstruction history 
that the Radicals enfranchised the Negro in order to build a 
Republican party in the South. This leads to a study of politics 
as the most important of all the divisive forces separating the 
sections and preventing the realization of harmony. To a sub- 
ject so significant a special chapter must be devoted, and be- 
fore turning to it one additional hurt inflicted upon the South 
can be disposed of. 

The divisions over the Negro and politics in the Reconstruc- 
tion era went so far as to create a situation of almost perma- 
nent sentimental disaffection on the part of Southerners. The 
injuries then experienced became a tradition. "The whites can- 
not forget that dismal period," wrote James Bryce in 1891, 
"and their recollection of it makes them vehemently resolute 
that power shall never again pass into hands which so misused 
it. It is not revenge, it is not hatred, it is the instinct of self- 
preservation which governs them." 49 The South had in fact 
suffered so much that from that day on a mark of a Southern 
man was his distrust of all who were not born below the Mason- 
Dixon Line. 

The South later professed forgiveness to the men who 

49 James Bryce, "Thoughts on the Negro Problem," North American Rev., 
CXLIII (1891), 549. 


fought in the fair fight of war. But to those who came vic- 
torious and "heaped indignities upon a fallen foe" it exhibited 
a "bitterness of heart that lasts as long as life endures." 50 The 
South, as one of its spokesmen said, came to believe "that 
what was desired and intended by the party in power was not 
a restored Union of equal States, but a subjected South, a 
dominant North, and a radical faction ruling all. The painful 
and exasperating belief gained ground daily that nothing 
which the Southern people could say or do ... would avail 
anything to change the course of their destiny. . . . The 
whole history of the struggles between the North and South 
had generated in the minds of the Southern people a profound 
skepticism. . . . Distrust of the Northern people, such as the 
fortunes of war and all the bitterness of surrender had failed 
to arouse, began to stir in the South ; and her people began to 
look upon their brethren of the North as possessed of a cruel 
hatred which rejoiced to believe evil, and by a malignancy 
which would not stop at wrong or oppression." 51 

"Whether right or wrong," said General Gordon before a 
Congressional Committee in 1871, "it is the impression of the 
Southern mind it is the conviction of my own mind, in 
which I am perfectly sincere and honest that we have not 
been met in the proper spirit." 52 There is not a page written in 
the vast literature of war and Reconstruction literature which 
does not corroborate Gordon's judgment. Joel Chandler Har- 
ris poured out the emotional content of the Southern heart 
when he wrote, "It was a policy of lawlessness under the forms 
of law, of disfranchisement, robbery, oppression and fraud. 
It was a deliberate attempt to humiliate the people who had 
lost everything by the war, and it aroused passion on both 
sides that were unknown when the war was in actual prog- 

ress." 63 

The yawning chasm thus remained unclosed. Southerners 

60 J. W. Burgess, "Reconstruction and the Constitution" (New York, 
1902), 297. See also R. Taylor, "Destruction and Reconstruction" (New 
York, 1879), 236-238. 

61 Mayes, "Lamar," 154-155. 

52 Testimony taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the 
Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States (Washington, 1872), 
VI, 316. 

63 Atlanta Constitution, Jan. 20, 1882. 


still looked upon their connection with the Union as some- 
thing forced and inevitable rather than as something desirable. 
The North was forced to realize that, although the Civil War 
had retired into history, the South remained a problem to 
embarrass the even flow of national life. Nothing revealed this 
tragedy more strikingly than the enmities which flourished in 
the world of politics. 



THE practice of American politics in the years that followed 
the Civil War seemed based upon a theory that the two great 
parties were hostile armies in camps irreconcilably divided. 
Democrats were to Republicans, and Republicans were to Dem- 
ocrats, not opponents to be persuaded, but enemies to be re- 
morselessly pursued and destroyed. "He is a stupid visionary" 
stated Benjamin H. Hill, "-who supposes he can ever make 
peace between the politicians/' 1 The condition primarily re- 
sponsible for this hostility was the unhappy fact that party 
divisions coincided with the sectional dualism whose corrosive 
influence ate into the vitals of every phase of national life. 

The Republican party was born in strife on issues that won 
support only in the North. The tactics of the party had always 
been to appeal on strictly sectional lines to the numerically 
stronger portion of the Union, realizing that there were elec- 
toral and Congressional votes enough in a united North to 
control the national government. It was a party of sectional- 
consciousness. As such it operated to split asunder the fabric 
of national life. 

The Democratic party claimed a more national composition. 
Even in the election of 1860 when the party was split into 
Northern and Southern groups, each with a sectional plat- 
form and a sectional candidate, Douglas the Northern can- 
didate was able to poll a considerable vote in the South, and 
Breckenridge the Southern rights candidate was given more 
votes in New England than Lincoln gained in all the South 

1 B. H. Hill, Jr., "Senator Benjamin H. Hill, His Life, Speeches, and 
Writings" (Atlanta, 1893), 435- 


including the border states. After the war the party continued 
to be in the North a strong minority group with more than 
an even chance to win such important states as New York, 
Indiana, and New Jersey. Control of these states in the North 
plus the solid support of the Southern states would carry a 
presidential election. Consequently the Southern vote became 
a prime consideration for the Democratic party. Its tactics 
aimed as much to placate the South as did Republican policy 
to excite the self-interest of the North. Thus the tragedy of 
postwar politics appears. The parties were rooted on opposite 
banks of the chasm. 

The Republican party took glory in the war. It had been 
a Republican president, Lincoln, Republican cabinet members, 
Republican congressmen, and Republican governors who had 
been the chief components of the Union coalition which had 
waged the war. The Democratic party as an organization had 
maintained a critical opposition to the administration. When 
the war was won on, the lines the Lincoln government pur- 
sued the Republicans were in a position to claim the credit 
and to them accrued the prestige of having saved the Union 
and freed the slaves. Meanwhile the Democrats could learn 
the bitter wisdom contained in Schurz's apothegm that "There 
is no heavier burden for a political party to bear, than to have 
appeared unpatriotic in war." 

Thus it became the interest of the Democratic party to 
"forget" the war and to patch up quickly a truce which would 
re-admit their Southern allies to the political contest. But it 
was equally important to Republicans that the past be not 
forgotten and that a reunion which would increase the strength 
of their opponents should be postponed, The process of recon- 
ciliation was fatefully involved in this counterpurpose of 
party aims. When one party recommended peace it seemed as 
though it was prostituting a nation's interests for selfish ends. 
When the other party clung to the memory of past feuds hatred 
and suspicion lingered longer than conditions warranted. 

In spite of the handicap of having opposed a war that suc- 
ceeded, the Democratic party remained a dangerous foe. In 
the election of 1868, with a strong presidential candidate but 
with weaknesses in the platform and the vice-presidential 


nominee, and running against the greatest living Northern 
hero of the war, the Democrats polled two million seven hun- 
dred votes to the Republican three million. Had it not been 
for the Reconstruction policy which deprived three Southern 
states of the right to vote, the extensive disfranchisement of 
Southern whites and the enfranchisement of seven hundred 
thousand Negroes which gave the Republicans the vote of six 
of the Confederate states, a Democrat, Seymour, would have 
beaten the Republican, Grant, some three years after the latter 
had stood under the famous apple tree at Appomattox. It was 
an alarming situation for Republicans. Seymour carried New 
York and New Jersey. A solid South would have given him 
success, and the white South was turning solidly against Re- 
publican rule. 

This was the sword which hung over a Republican party 
already sorely beset by other worries. Its hold upon the North 
was precarious and depended largely upon keeping "patriotism" 
keyed to an emotional fervor of wartime pitch. The party was 
in constant danger of factional disruption. In many respects 
it was a coalition of tempers ranging from extreme moder- 
ation toward the South to extreme radicalism. There were 
rivalries within the party based upon diverging economic in- 
terests. At any time Northeast and Northwest might divide on 
tariff or finance and in doing so precipitate the party out of 
power. Nascent rivalries of personal ambition were developing 
from the conflicting leaderships of Elaine and Conkling, with 
reformers growing more critically aloof. To offset these evils 
the party had one blessing, its war record, and to that it clung 
instinctively for protection against the enemy outside and the 
weakness within. 

The refusal to let the past fade into history, the exploitation 
of war issues that were settled, the inherent selfishness of the 
practice, all received censure from those outside the party. A 
phrase of opprobrium was coined, "waving the bloody shirt," 
and applied to this feature of Republican politics. But the 
"bloody shirt" was possibly the greatest weapon any American 
party ever possessed and the Republican party would have 
been an unusual assemblage of politicians indeed if it had not 
exploited this instrument which was both a sword of offense 


and a shield of defense. It served effectively five great needs. 
First it confounded the enemy, striking the Democrats where 
they were most vulnerable. Secondly it aroused the ire of the 
North against the South, as desirable a result to a sectional 
party as it was undesirable to the nation. Thirdly it provided 
an issue upon which all the factions within the party could 
unite and so, in the crises of elections at least, the dangers of 
division could be minimized. Fourthly, the appeal to patriotism 
was an easy evasion of the responsibility of accounting for 
mistakes and corruption in office. Finally, when new allies were 
necessary to save the Republican program in the South from 
the growing hostility of the whites, it served as a justification 
for the dubious statesmanship of Negro enfranchisement. 

An analysis of the "bloody shirt" reveals, first of all, that 
it emphasized the continued disloyalty of the Southern whites. 
All evidence to the contrary was disregarded in the fixed creed 
of Republican belief that the rebels never changed. A cartoon 
in Harper's Weekly for July i, 1871, portrays a 'possum la- 
beled "Rebellion" which lies sprawled on the ground playing 
dead while a man pokes inquiringly into its ribs. In the back- 
ground Jefferson Davis stands whispering to a friend, "Don't 
you be afraid; that animal ain't dead. Just wait and see." 
Worsted in battle the South, so it w r as claimed, had surrendered 
none of its objectives. Men "trained to hate the Union as their 
oppressor, and to despise the Yankees, or Northerners, as the 
meanest of mankind," had merely changed their tactics. "The 
solid South," asserted the influential Cincinnati Commercial, "is 
the Southern Confederacy seeking domination of the United 
States through the machinery of the Democratic party and by 
peaceable means." Consequently, "The North and South of the 
fiery quarrel and of the war are the living, acting North and 
South of today." 2 

Outrages against the Negro, intimidation of white Repub- 
licans in the South, displays of sectional temper, were repeti- 
tiously paraded as "little Providences" which "come along to 
save the forgiving North from losing itself in a mush of 
sentiment in regard to the South." 3 When a Southern news- 

2 Harper's Weekly, Jan. 2g, 1876. 
*Ibid., Jan. 7, 


paper, the Mobile Register, criticized President Grant as "the 
Jacobin tyrant who sits enthroned at Washington to the terror 
of all patriots, and the peril of free government/' the Re- 
publican welcomes the opportunity of contrasting the record 
of "the modest and honest soldier" with that of the rebels 
whose plans he had frustrated. 4 When the South elected to 
Congress men who had been active in Confederate service it 
was interpreted to mean continued rebellion against the Union. 

Republicans insisted that Southerners had learned nothing 
by the war. "I have seen no signs at the South of a desire for 
reconciliation in the party of the old slave power," wrote a 
New England member of the party. "They have a strong desire 
to regain power, and by a united South and a Democratic 
North to again govern the country." 5 So often was this ham- 
mered home that the "bare idea of the rebel States casting 
their votes for election . . . and giving us again a democratic 
and rebel government" 6 became intolerable to many North- 
erners who voted Republican to forestall the fancied evil. 

The second step in the tactics of "bloody shirt" politics was 
to "charge the Democratic party with being the same in char- 
acter and spirit as when it sympathized with treason." 7 There 
was much truth in John Sherman's observation that "the people 
will not trust the party or men who during the war sided 
with the rebels." 8 Republicans played upon this theme. The 
Democratic record was reviewed as one of friendship with slav- 
ery and subserviency to Southern economic interests before 
the war, treachery to the Union during the war, and non-ac- 
ceptance of the fruits of victory since the war. The desired 
conclusion was that such an opponent so jeopardized the na- 
tional welfare that it could not be trusted in power. 

Even to moderates the Democratic organization seemed un- 
inviting. First was the stigma of opposition in the war. "We 
all agree" wrote the Nation in 1872 when the editorial policy 

4 Ibid., May 20, 1871. 

5 J. M. Forbes to Charles Sumner, Aug. 10, 1872, S. F. Hughes (eel), 
"Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes" (Boston, 1899), II, 180. 

6 John Jay to S. P. Chase, Jan. 5, 1866, "Diary and Correspondence of 
Samuel P. Chase/' American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1002. 
II, 519. 

7 Republican Platform of 1876. 

8 "Sherman Letters," 259. 


of the weekly was distinctly critical of the Grant administra- 
tion, "that the Democratic party has no high aims, no patriotic 
intentions; its purpose seems to be simply to get back into 
power. ... If we remember, with any gratitude the 500,000 
soldiers who perished in the struggle, we can never consent 
that the party which was sneering, dabbling, and hindering 
while they were fighting shall in its old form and character 
again come to the front/' 9 Then there was the notoriety which 
came from membership in the party of Copperheads like Val- 
landigham, an honorable man but certainly not popular in the 
North, and political bosses like Tweed whose corruption was 
always a consolation to Republicans who had their own bur- 
dens of Credit Mobilier, Sanborn contracts, Belknap scandals, 
and whisky frauds to carry. Senator Hoar boasted without 
too great danger of being contradicted that most of the sub- 
stantial men of the North in professions, business, and farm- 
ing were in the Republican party, while the Democrats were 
"controlled by the foreign population and the criminal classes 
of our great cities, by Tammany Hall, and by the leaders of 
the solid South." 10 It was not mere prejudice that pictured 
to the normal middle-class, church-going Northerner a Demo- 
cratic party that sought power by an alliance of rebel sentiment 
in the South, corrupt Tweed Ring politics in New York with 
Tammany and Irish support, and Copperheadism in the West. 
There was just enough truth in the fact that Democratic suc- 
cess depended upon an electoral vote built upon the solid South, 
New York where the party was largely foreign born and cor- 
rupt, and Indiana where Civil War Copperheadism had been 
strongest, to give Republicans excellent material for exploita- 
tion by the usual tricks of exaggeration and misrepresenta- 

The country was not permitted to forget that the Democratic 
party was "an organization containing the opponents of the 
union, . . . men believing in state sovereignty, . . . men con- 
temptuous of equal rights, . . . rebels, . . . repudiators of 
the war amendments, . . . tools of slavery and secession/* u 

9 Nation, April II, 1872. 

10 G. F. Hoar, "Autobiography" (New York, 1903), I, 200. 

11 Harper's Weekly, July 30, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, 1870. 


When Thomas Nast in a cartoon of May 6, 1871 essayed to 
portray Democratic principles, he drew a motley assembly of 
wolves, demagogues, Ku Kluxers, and Jefferson Davis, tear- 
ing up the graves of settled issues, reviving the old causes, 
and preaching the Constitution as it was in 1860, with rebel- 
lion and slavery revived. When Vallandigham died in 1871 it 
was recalled that the u stigma of his treachery" was imbedded 
in the core of the party to which he belonged. 12 When a Demo- 
cratic Senator from Kentucky, in a mistaken notion of what 
could be done in the name of reconciliation, proposed the re- 
moval of seventeen thousand buried Union soldiers from their 
graves in Arlington cemetery so that the estate could be re- 
turned to the widow of General Lee, Republicans were not 
unhappy. It was a beautiful opportunity to exploit "the gross- 
est insult to the patriotism and good sense of the country" as 
a further revelation of "the real spirit of the Democratic 
party/' 13 

After building the premises of a disloyal South and an un- 
trustworthy Democracy in the North, the Republicans were 
ready to point the moral by luridly portraying the dangers such 
a combination threatened. "If the Northern majority weakens 
and the nation's representatives let themselves be persuaded 
in the interests of conciliation ... to let the Southerners 
reenter Congress easily/' wrote Clemenceau in 1867, "there 
will be no more internal peace for a quarter of a century." 14 
Nine years later Garfield as a spokesman of his party was 
harping on the same theme. North and South to the Ohioan 
still represented irreconcilable conceptions of freedom and 
slavery, loyalty and treason. "Often," he confessed, "the blun- 
ders and faults of the Republican party have been condoned 
by the people [because the alternative was] the violent, re- 
actionary and disloyal spirit of the Democratic party." 15 
"Neither the jeers at the bloody shirt," wrote another oracle 
of Republicanism in the Same year, "nor the natural and just 
desire of reconciliation, nor the extravagances and offenses 

Ibid., July i, 1871. 
**Ibid., Dec. 31, 1870. 

14 Clemenceau, "Reconstruction," 84. 

15 B. A, Hinsdale (ed), "The Works of James Abram Garfield" (Boston, 
1883), 356, 360, 381, 


of the colored voters in the Southern States, nor the bland 
and smooth oratory of Southern Democratic politicians, nor 
the crafty declarations of Northern Democratic politicians . . . 
should cause any man to forget that the Democratic party is 
now what it has been for many years the political organ- 
ization of those who aimed to destroy the national Union/' 16 

The Republicans thus stood frankly on the sectional issue 
boldly asserting that it was vain to deplore sectionalism when 
the sectional division of politics was so evident that it could 
not be winked out of sight. The North had only one decision 
to make. Would its future be safer entrusted to the party of 
Lincoln and Grant or to the Democracy which had compro- 
mised with treason, resisted emancipation, and still cherished 
the Confederate South? 

From the day that Thaddeus Stevens asserted that "just 
so much as the Democratic party shall again gain the ascend- 
ancy just so much will that same spirit of despotism run riot 
which has disgraced this nation for a century/' Republicans 
maintained that a return of Democrats to power would mean 
the debasement of the Negro. Whether the Negro needed the 
Republicans more than Republicans needed the Negro is a 
matter for speculation, but that there was an affinity between 
the two is unquestioned. Thus Senator Wilson in a moment 
of statistical-mindedness estimated that his party could count 
on six hundred and seventy-two thousand colored voters in 
the South to offset in part the nine hundred and twenty-three 
thousand Southern white voters, and give to the party control 
of South Carolina, Mississippi and probably Louisiana, Ala- 
bama, and North Carolina. 17 Even Sumner, the most ardent 
champion of Negro rights, thought his argument for enfran- 
chisement would sound more plausible to his fellow partisans 
if he showed that the colored vote was necessary to "secure the 
new allies which are essential to the national cause. 7 ' 1S But 
after the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed 
the party found it more dignified to assume the role of unsel- 
fish defender of the black man against the party of his natural 

16 Harper's Weekly, Jan. 29, 1876. 

17 Congressional Globe, March 15, 1867. 

18 E. L. Pierce, "Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner" (Boston, 1893), 
IV, 319-320. 


enemies. The Democrats, appreciating that few Negroes would 
enroll under their banners, were probably as selfishly motivated 
in resisting measures for Negro advancement. 

The Republicans did not hesitate to point out that for a 
generation the Democratic party had devoted all its power to 
the inhumane oppression of the Negro. Evidence was found 
in the disorders in the South to convince the North that the 
Democrats were still a "nigger hating" party. Typical was 
Thomas Nast's portrayal of a Negro kneeling over the mur- 
dered bodies of his family, with a background of burning 
homes, schools, workshops, and churches of colored folk, in- 
quiring, "Is this protecting life, liberty, property? Is this the 
equal protection of the laws ?" 19 While Southern Ku Kluxers 
acted, so the Republicans declared, the Northern Democrats 
sympathized with this barbarism directed against the Negro. 
When the Democratic party regained control of the New York 
legislature it made the futile gesture of repealing the state's 
earlier ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. This was 
used naturally enough as an indication of Northern Democratic 
hostility to the Negro. 'The Democratic party/' charged 
Harper's Weekly, "went out of power in this State trying to 
make the Negro a slave. It returns to power trying to prevent 
his becoming an equal citizen. Arrayed against justice, human- 
ity, reason, and the American principle, the doom of the party 
is sure." 20 

To reach those who still wavered, the "bloody shirt" had 
other arguments. Time and time again it was asserted that a 
Democratic administration would lower the tariffs, partially 
repudiate the debt, and shower economic benefits upon the 
South. Not all Northerners, not even all Republicans, would 
have been disturbed to see tariff reduction and monetary in- 
flation. But the appeal could be and was made selectively in 
areas where it would count and silenced where it would have 
no effect. Especially was it used to appeal to classes whose in- 
vestments were in government bonds or whose livings were 
made in protected manufactures. Secretary of Treasury Mc- 
Culloch, feeling that there was no justification in arousing 

19 Harper's Weekly, Sept. 2, 1876. 

20 Ibid., Jan. 22, 1870. 


fear on this issue, felt constrained to protest in a letter to 
Senator Sumner against the practice. "I have been greatly 
alarmed/' he wrote, "at the disposition that seems to exist 
among our radical friends to induce the holders of our secur- 
ities to take ground against the President's [Johnson's] policy 
by the argument that under it there is danger of a coalition 
between the recent Rebels of the South and the Democracy 
of the North for the repudiation of the obligations which have 
been created in the prosecution of the war. It will not do to 
make the faith of the nation dependent upon any such issue; 
and I entreat you as a leader and a creator of public sentiment 
not to encourage the idea." Sumner, however, was not only 
deaf to the entreaty, but acted immediately to encourage the 
fears of New England bond holders by making it the theme 
of his speech before the Republican Convention of Massachu- 
setts. 21 

The "bloody shirt" led to the natural conclusion that the 
good of the Nation required the rule of the party of patriotism. 
"Reconciliation," the Republicans agreed, "will not result 
from taking the control of the government from New Eng- 
land, the Middle States, and the Northwest, and giving it to 
the Southern and border States. The power must remain where 
it is, because there the principles of the New Union are a 
living faith." 22 Or to put it differently, not until the Demo- 
cratic party was utterly defeated and dissolved could a perfect 
accord be accomplished. The Republicans thus manoeuvred, 
at least to their own satisfaction, the Democratic party with 
its millions of Americans into the category of enemies to the 
American state. 

Time and time again representatives of the "Grand Old 
Party" asserted that it contained the "best elements in our 
national life . . . the survivors and children of the men who 
put down the Rebellion and abolished slavery, saved the Union, 
and paid the debt and kept the faith, and achieved the manu- 
facturing independence of the country, and passed the home- 
stead laws." 23 It was a record of proud achievement which 

21 J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States (New York, 1893-1906), V, 


22 Harper's Weekly, July 20, 1872. 

23 Hoar, "Autobiography," 200. 


drew to the party ranks "the more intelligent and moral part 
of the population/' and one which served as a refuge in the 
evil days of corruption under Grant. "Corruption," the party 
could always argue, "is, unhappily, to be found in both parties, 
but he would be more daring than well informed who should 
allege that the Democratic party is more honest than its op- 
ponent." 24 To the one question which carried its own answer, 
Republicans always returned, "Shall the men who saved the 
Republic continue to rule it, or shall it be handed over to the 
rebels and their allies?" 

The political division, then, made for the survival of the 
ancient antagonisms between North and South, and the old is- 
sues were not permitted to die. "As in 1860," spoke the Re- 
publican candidate for the Vice-Presidency in 1876, "we are 
once more . . . face to face with a united South, with the 
Democratic party in the North its subservient and pliant ally. 
. . . Let your ballots protect the work so effectually done 
by your bayonets at Gettysburg and on so many a field of 
strife." 25 

Handicapped by its war record, embarrassed by the force- 
fulness of the "bloody shirt" attack, the Democratic party was 
for more than a decade compelled to remain on the defensive. 
During these years it made painful and for the most part un- 
successful efforts to find an issue substantial enough to carry 
the party back into the confidence of the Nation. 

The first tactics assumed by the party chieftains was resist- 
ance to the Republican program of Reconstruction. Even be- 
fore the war had ended Democrats assailed Radicalism as "im- 
politic and vindictive at this time when the minds of all good 
men are searching diligently for ways of reconciliation and 
peace." Feeling certain that majority sentiment favored moder- 
ation and that therefore they had the winning side, the Demo- 
crats were not unhappy in seeing Radicalism definitely develop 
into the official policy of the Republican party. 

True to the tactics of non-acceptance of Reconstruction the 
Democrats pictured themselves before the public throughout 

^Harper's Weekly, May 21, 1870. 

25 W. A. Wheeler, "Speech at St. Albans, Vt," Republican Campaign 
Pamphlets (1876). 


the elections of 1866 and 1868 as men of peace and reunion 
fighting hatred and vengeance. "The time I hope will come/' 
a party spokesman piously wished, "when the foundations of 
our Government will again rest, as of old, in the affections and 
confidence of the whole people/' 26 Democracy, a lady if the car- 
toonists are correct, drew back her skirts in shocked propriety 
when Republicans were so boorish as to recall her past. She 
posed as the advocate of a wiser and more philosophical states- 
manship. "Why make enemies of eight millions of people who 
are giving every pledge that men of honor can give of their 
sincere desire to be your friends ?" queried James Beck of 
Kentucky. "All experience teaches that magnanimity and gen- 
erosity to a fallen foe will make him a friend, while cruelty 
and oppression will but intensify his hate." 2T 

The party thus committed took official stand against the 
"revolution" the Republicans were directing. The entire range 
of Reconstruction legislation was first contested in Congress 
and then before the people as "usurpatious, and unconstitu- 
tional, revolutionary, and void," and of course unwise. The 
party also resisted the enactment and ratification of the Four- 
teenth Amendment which garnered what the Republicans 
defined before the Nation as fruits of victory, equal civil 
rights of the Negro, definition of federal citizenship, disfran- 
chisement of prominent Confederates, guarantees of the valid- 
ity of the national debt, and prohibitions upon Congress ever 
assuming in any way any obligation of Confederate origin. 
Finally the Democratic party fought the Negro enfranchise- 
ment which was ultimately embodied in the Constitution by 
the Fifteenth Amendment. There is little doubt that party 
zeal led the Democrats to extremes that later proved a handi- 
cap. Their early acceptance of reconciliation seemed too hastily 
arrived at for a proper appraisal of the conditions necessary 
to safeguard the fruits of victory. When Republicans did give 
the safeguards, in too radical a form, it grated harshly upon 
many Northerners to hear the constant assertions made by 
Democrats that the North was persecuting the South. 

Nevertheless Republican excesses gave to Democrats many 

20 Congressional Globe, March 13, 1867. 
*Ibid. f March n, 1868. 


targets at which to shoot their darts of criticism. The intem- 
perance of the politics of the times is again evident when one 
notes the "crimes" catalogued by Democrats against their op- 
ponents, military despotism, Negro supremacy, violations 
of individual rights to jury trial and habeas corpus, arrogant 
abuse of Congressional power in encroachments against the 
executive and the judiciary, corruption, extravagance, en- 
croachment upon the prerogatives of States, and in general 
the subversion of the established form of government and its 
replacement by a centralized and consolidated form. These 
were not issues for normal times. Nor did the Democratic 
party face them with the self-restraint their demand for mod- 
erate Reconstruction would seem to indicate. Most historians 
today agree that in a large measure their criticism of the 
Radical program was good. But the Democratic argument of 
sweet reasonableness lost much of its grace when advocated 
in a manner that was far from being sweetly reasonable. 

There was also a selfish side to the Democratic espousal of 
moderation which cast suspicion on the party's motives. It ap- 
peared to be a conscious bid to wean from Republican ranks 
the large number of lenients who seemed restless in a party 
growing daily more radical. The Democrats needed very few 
recruits in the North to make them, as they had been before 
the Civil War, the dominant element in politics. Moderation 
seemed the way to the desired end. Furthermore it would bring 
back into the national balance the important Southern Demo- 
cratic strength. In other words, while each had its idealistic 
aspects, "the patriotism of peace" was inherently as selfish 
as "the patriotism of the bloody shirt." Between the two true 
progress of reconciliation came dangerously near destruction 
in the wrangle of partisan ambitions. 

Bright as seemed its prospects the tactics of non-acceptance 
proved an unwise step. The Democratic party had too many 
vulnerable weaknesses to pose successfully as the vehicle of 
patriotism. Who are the Democrats, these men who promise 
peace, forgiveness, and union? asked the vigorous Morton in 
the election of 1866. Every unregenerate rebel, was his answer, 
every bounty jumper, every deserter, draft dodger, murderer 
of Union prisoners, dishonest contractor, and corrupt pay- 


master, were Democrats. "In short," concluded the Republican 
whose own record as war governor of Indiana insured the in- 
tegrity of his patriotism, "the Democratic party may be de- 
scribed as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle." 28 What 
would Democratic success mean, asked Roscoe Conkling? The 
Confederates, he answered, would be brought back to power to 
appropriate Government money in payment for slaves and 
Southern property damaged by Federal armies in the war. 2d 

Even the plea for constitutionality proved a boomerang. 
"Who pleads the Constitution?" queried Stevens. "It is the 
advocate of rebels." 30 To many the phrases so common on 
Democratic lips, "the Constitution as it is," "prerogatives of the 
States," and "encroachments of the Federal Government," 
seemed painfully reminiscent of the old debates when South- 
erners had hurled against the North the epithets Democrats 
now were using. After all, the war had settled something, 
and all the talk Democrats were making about restoring fra- 
ternal relations seemed to boil down into suspicion that Demo- 
crats were unaware of this fact. Cartoonists pictured the 
Democratic party as a wolf masquerading in the skin of a 
sheep. Moderates took what appeared to them the lesser evil 
of joining with Radicals whose loyalty they respected rather 
than with peacemakers who were suspected of prostituting a 
noble aspiration for a selfish end. 

The futility of Democratic efforts at conciliation through 
politics was demonstrated in the fiasco of the Philadelphia 
Convention during the Congressional elections of 1866. The 
meeting was planned to be a great love feast of sectional peace. 
Moderate Southerners journeyed North to meet Democrats 
and Johnsonian Republicans. Arm in arm men from Massa- 
chusetts and South Carolina, New York and Georgia, and 
so on through the States (like the animals entering Noah's ark, 
jeered Elaine), paraded into the convention hall as a token 
of harmony between the erstwhile foes. Resolutions were 
passed giving assurances that the South was loyal, and much 

28 W. D. Foulke, "Life of Oliver P. Morton" (Indianapolis, 1899), I, 475- 

29 A. R. Conkling, "The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling" (New 
York, 1889), 370. 

30 E. B. Callender, "Thaddeus Stevens" (Boston, 1882), in. 


was made of the fact that Southerners stood on chairs cheer- 
ing the assertion that slavery was dead. 

The show did not impress dominant opinion in the North. 
Thomas Nast destroyed such good as it might have accom- 
plished by a few strokes of his pencil. His cartoon showed the 
presiding officer of the convention busily placing padlocks on 
the lips of the delegates to prevent them from giving utterance 
to any unpatriotic sentiments. 31 The Convention smacked of 
artificiality, especially since the managers straining after the 
effect of peace had excluded the Copperhead Vallandigham 
who sought admission and who as a prominent Democrat be- 
longed where other Democrats assembled. As one Southerner 
who was present later wrote, the effort at fraternity was "of 
as little avail as the waving of a lady's fan against a typhoon. 
. . . [We] were again taught the lesson that is ever forgotten, 
namely, that it is an easy task to inflame the passions of the 
multitude, an impossible one to arrest them." 32 

The unsubstantial basis upon which the Democrats were 
erecting their edifice of reconciliation was again demonstrated 
in the same campaign in relation to the Soldiers and Sailors 
convention that met in Cleveland on September 17. This 
meeting of Union veterans was intended to demonstrate a 
loyal element supporting Johnsonian policies. Unfortunately 
for the effect on the public, however, a group of Southern 
veterans meeting in Memphis at the same time and harmoni- 
ously inclined felicitated the Northern body by sending a tele- 
gram of sympathy. The name of N. B. Forrest was among 
those appended to the telegram. 33 Forrest was the man North- 
erners held responsible for the massacre of Fort Pillow, one of 
the unforgettable and unforgivable tragedies of the war. 

The Democratic assault upon the Reconstruction program 
of the Radical Republicans also failed to win recruits from 
the moderate Republicans. Pressure from outside solidified 
the Republican party, aiid, during elections at least, moderates 
cooperated with Radicals. When Democrats made gains in the 
fall elections .of 1867 in ^ e States, John Sherman expressed 

81 Harper's Weekly, Sept. 29, 1866. 

32 Taylor, "Destruction and Reconstruction," 253. 

33 Appletons' Annual Cyclop&dia (1866), 759. 


the apprehension common to all Republicans when he wrote 
that the "danger now is that the mistakes of the Republican 
party may drift the Democratic party into power." 34 When 
the failure to remove Johnson upon the impeachment charges 
threatened momentarily to divide the party, a Radical outside 
Congress wrote to Fessenden, who had voted against con- 
viction, that "it is sheer madness to add . . . the risk of 
splitting up the Republican party, now the only bulwark of 
freedom. We owe it to the living and the dead to keep to- 
gether until we have absolutely secured the fruits of our dearly 
bought victory." 35 Here indeed was the cement to unite all 
factions in the party. 

A consolidated Republican party was the result. The Recon- 
struction program originated by Radicals became the test of 
party loyalty with hatred of the white South and distrust of 
Democrats as fixed tenets of the creed. An additional party 
reason for support of Reconstruction was the knowledge that 
the election of 1868 could not be won without Southern votes 
in the electoral college. The only way of securing those votes 
was by maintaining carpetbag governments built upon Negro 
suffrage. So party interest again dominated the situation to 
the detriment of reconciliation. While Democrats courted the 
Southern whites, Republicans courted Southern blacks, and, 
since neither party could hope successfully to invade the prem- 
ises of the other, strife, passion, and even bloodshed became 
the weapons of this political struggle. 

Gradually such idealism as had earlier existed in the quest 
for Negro enfranchisement dropped into the background. A 
grimmer and more permanent phase began. The Negro became 
a shuttlecock in the rivalry for party mastery. Necessity drove 
one party to give the Negro more rights than he possibly could 
exercise with profit to his advancement. Necessity drove the 
other to a brutal position of robbing the Negro of that little 
he might with justice claim. Between the two the true friends 
of the race were left in confused indecision. From the dis- 
order that arose as the inevitable corollary of the struggle each 
party sought that interpretation which served its purpose. 

84 "Sherman Letters," 299. 
35 Hughes, "Forbes," II, 165. 


Democrats charged Republican Radicalism as the breeder of 
race dissension. Republicans charged Democratic hatred of the 
Negro as the source of the black man's woes. 

With this change also came a change in the direction of the 
"bloody shirt." An excuse might possibly be made for the 
originators of the practice. Men like Stevens, Sumner, Fes- 
senden, Trumbull, Grimes, and Julian were idealistically or 
at least unselfishly motivated. But these men who had been 
the leaders in the early period, one by one, died, retired, ^or 
were rendered powerless. Their places were taken by chieftains 
whose use of the war issues was motivated by little more than 
party or personal ambition. Elaine, Conkling, Morton, Logan, 
Cameron, Sherman, and Butler professionalized the issue and 
robbed it of the small justification it might once have claimed. 

This more professional use of the "bloody shirt'' was com- 
mon to all Radical Republican politicians. But it may best be 
illustrated in the cases of two prominent Ohioans neither one 
of whom had other than party reasons for expressing hatred 
of the South. The indictment of John Sherman can be given 
through a private letter written by his fellow Republican 
James A. Garfield. 

I have never been more disgusted with Sherman than during 
this short session. He is very conservative for five years and then 
fiercely radical for one. This is his radical year which always 
comes before the Senatorial election. No man in the Senate has 
talked with so much fierceness as Sherman. . . . You will see 
an attempt made by his partisan friends in Ohio to show that he 
is more zealous than the rest of us. His conduct deceives nobody 
here but it may at home. 86 

But Garfield also had elections to carry, and on such occa- 
sions he too had his moments for blowing hot. Especially 
was this true of him when the Credit Mobilier scandal threat- 
ened to end his promising career. He then found it a convenient 
thing to talk of patriotism when Democrats talked of reform. 
In the election of 1868 both the Democrats and the Repub- 
licans posed as reconcilers, but with a difference. The Demo- 

* T. C. Smith, "The Life and Letters of James Abram Garfield" (New 
Haven, 1925), I, 47L 


crats stood upon a platform of non-acceptance, insisting that 
not until the wrongs of Reconstruction inflicted by Republicans 
upon the South were undone could harmony be accomplished. 
The Republicans asserted that this stand of their opponents 
threatened to "unsettle the settlement" and would lead only 
to a recrudescence of sectional strife. The South must be 
"pacified" to the extent of accepting the results of the war. 
The strong hand of the Hero of Appomattox as President 
would convince the South that it must yield. Then, the Re- 
publicans declared, the road to true reconciliation upon right 
principles would be opened. With this definition Grant's "Let 
us have peace" became the party's slogan. By a curious irony 
the Democrats saw their plea for reconciliation twisted into 
an augury of strife. They fought the campaign squarely on 
the evils of Reconstruction, and lost. The country decided to 
follow the Republican signpost to peace and the Democrats 
had no other alternative than to scrap the "non-acceptance" 
program and go searching for a substitute. 

If, as one of their own members had said, the "most effec- 
tive battery against the Democratic party today [1868] is, 
that they are willing to abandon to you [the South] some or 
all of these trophies [fruits of victory]/' it was obvious that 
a change of tactics was imperative and that the party must 
move to better fighting ground. 37 The Republicans were as- 
sured of four more years in power. It did not seem possible 
to undo in 1872 what could not be undone in 1868. Conse- 
quently "reconciliation by acceptance" became the future basis 
of action. In the political parlance of the day this change 
of front was styled the "New Departure" of the Democratic 

It was a shrewd manoeuvre which promised to win accre- 
tions to the party ranks. By emphasizing acceptance of the war 
amendments and the acts of Reconstruction as accomplished 
facts, it answered the Republican charge that Democrats were 
attempting to reopen settled issues and perpetuate the sectional 
division for party ends. By insistence that bygones were by- 
gones and emphasis on present problems, it freed the party 
from the vulnerable tactical and defensive position of explain- 

87 John Quincy Adams, II, Massachusetts and South Carolina (pamphlet). 


ing its record, and carried the fight aggressively into the weak- 
nesses of Republican corruption in Washington and misgovern- 
ment in the South. The Republican party could ill afford to 
surrender the offensive. Consequently while the Democrats 
shouted "New Departure/' Republicans clung to "bloody 
shirt/' The question was whether the North would accept the 
Democratic shift as a true reformation of party objectives, 
or whether they would believe the Republicans who said that 
it was merely the old ruse of the wooden horse in which un- 
regenerate partisans were seeking to capture the citadel of 

For the next four years the Democrats advocated the poli- 
tics of the "New Departure/' In the same period the evils they 
attacked, corruption of the Grant regime and carpetbag ex- 
cesses in the South, threatened seriously to disrupt the unity 
of their opponents. The Liberal Republican movement started 
as a factional fight for the control of the party machine in 
Missouri in 1870. It rapidly developed into a nation-wide 
movement that seemed to promise the necessary accretions the 
Democrats were seeking to gain majority control. 

The relation of the Liberal Republican revolt to sectional- 
ism in politics is best shown in relating the transformation it 
effected in Carl Schurz, the original genius of the movement. 
Schurz had been a Radical close to Sumner. In the election of 
1868 he spoke the language of normal Republicanism, attack- 
ing Democrats as rebels, and advocating Grant's election as 
"the only road to peace/' In 1869 when the Missouri legisla- 
ture elected him United States Senator, he declared that "only 
such acts of grace to our late enemies are in order as will be 
consistent with the safety of our loyal people. ... I will not 
consent to arm the late rebels with power in a manner which 
would enable them to deprive loyal men of their rights/' In 
the Senate as late as May 19, 1870, he attacked the Demo- 
cratic views on constitutionality, asserting that they were 
false and that the American people "will never consent to 
placing power in the hands of men who still speak of over- 
throwing the great Constitutional amendments/' 

But in becoming a Liberal Republican Schurz faced the 
necessity of justifying his bolt from the party of Union and 


freedom. The only possible arguments available to him were 
those which softened the asperities between himself and the 
Democrats. Thus in an address to the people of Missouri, 
September 10, 1870, he made for him the new discovery that 
the "Civil War is over. . . . The exigencies of a great public 
danger have ceased to exist. . . . New measures are necessary. 
... If the Democrats support us we have abandoned no 
principle to gain such support.'* But Schurz had abandoned 
the "bloody shirt." From advocating the removal of political 
disabilities of ex-Confederates, to an attack on Republican 
corruption, to a speech on "Grant's usurpations/' to exposure 
of "the insane Ku Klux legislation," he moved steadily to the 
grounds where Democrats were fighting. Finally at Nashville, 
September 20, 1871, he became a reconciler, "happy to stretch 
out my hand to all men who, having stood against us in the 
Civil War, are now ready to work for the restoration" of 
peace and harmony. To be sure Schurz never became a Demo- 
crat. "We liberal Republicans," he was careful to make clear, 
"are honest enough to speak out frankly what displeases us 
in the Republican party, but the same honesty compels us to 
say that there is still more in the Democratic party that dis- 
pleases us." 38 Nevertheless Democrats could not be other than 
pleased to see their enemies divide on issues that brought one 
faction so near the line of Democratic attack. 

So far as reconciliation is concerned this is the chief signifi- 
cance of the Liberal Republican movement. It was the first 
great event in the political narrative which made an appreciable 
number of Republicans soften the harshness of their atti- 
tude toward Democrats and the South. Few men had been more 
bitter in the past than Horace Greeley. Yet divergence from 
Grant brought him into the road of sectional accord. During 
the summer of 1871 he visited the South from which he wrote 
letters published in the Tribune critical of carpetbag govern- 
ment, urging amnesty, and suggesting ways toward the eco- 
nomic union of the sections. So also the veteran abolitionist, 
Julian, who once had wished to hang Jefferson Davis "in the 
name of God," withdrew from the party he had helped to 

38 Schurz's changing attitude can be traced in his "Writings," I, 472, 476, 
484-509, 510-518; II, 2-254, 257-306. 


build, and sought other agencies through which to effect a 
reformation of government. 

Equally arresting was the sight of Sumner reprimanding 
Elaine for waving the "bloody shirt." Sumner, who had quar- 
reled with Grant, supported Greeley and advised his many 
Negro friends to vote the Democratic ticket. Elaine there- 
upon charged Sumner with treason to his party and to his 
principles, and, giving the "bloody shirt" a wave, asserted 
that it was singular to see Sumner in alliance with the party 
of Preston S. Brooks. Sumner's answer is eloquent of the 
change a shift in party position can effect. "What has Preston 
Brooks to do with the Presidential election? ... I will not 
unite with you in dragging him from his grave where he 
sleeps, to aggravate the passions of a political conflict, and 
arrest the longing for concord." S9 

Not merely did men like Schurz, Greeley, Julian, Sumner, 
David Davis, Charles Francis Adams, Jacob D. Cox, and 
Lyman Trumbull, politicians whose loyalty and integrity were 
Unassailable in the North, henceforth speak the language of 
harmony. The Liberal Republican movement also brought into 
the same position the most powerful journals and the ablest 
editors in the North. Greeley's New York Tribune, White's 
Chicago Tribune, Bowies' Springfield Republican, and Hal- 
stead's Cincinnati Commercial were foremost among Republi- 
can journals. To have this group secede from the party and 
join a reform movement that stressed moderation toward the 
South seemed a progressive step toward reconciliation. 

The Greeley campaign of 1872, when Liberal Republicans 
and Democrats united on a common candidate and a common 
platform, was important to reconciliation for much the same 
reason. This first effort of reformers to use the Democratic 
party as a vehicle ended in failure at the polls. But reconcili- 
ation won a partial victory in that certain obstacles to ulti- 
mate success were definitely removed. 

In this respect it was important that the South conceded 
as much as it did in accepting not only the Reconstruction 
acts as accomplished facts but Horace Greeley as well. To many 
it was indeed a bitter pill. "The New Departure" wrote one 

89 M. Storey, "Charles Sumner" (Boston, 1900), 416-417. 


irreconcilable, "is so low a descent from principle as to reach 
the extreme depths of political profligacy. It is simply a shame- 
ful ... acknowledgement that the animating and actuating 
motive of its contrivers is the lust of office." 40 More typical, 
however, especially among Southern politicians, was the shrewd 
and practical view espoused by Benjamin H. Hill. It was 
futile, Hill urged, to waste energy in efforts to undo the 
measures of the past. The South would gain all she could 
ever hope for if she recaptured control of her own State gov- 
ernments. Greeley was a means to that end, and the end 
seemed so attractive as to make palatable the means. 41 

In the campaign proper Greeley not only promised deliver- 
ance from radical rnisgovernment in the South. He made 
reconciliation an issue of the campaign. "They [my opponents] 
talk about rebels and traitors," he said at Pittsburgh in Sep- 
tember. "Fellow citizens, are we never to be done with this? 
. . . You cannot afford to teach a part of your country to 
hate you, to feel that your success, your greatness is identical 
with their humiliation. ... I ask you to take the hand held 
out to you by your Southern brethren in their adoption 
of the Cincinnati platform . . . and say . . . 'The war is 
ended, let us again be fellow countrymen, and forget that we 
have been enemies/ " 42 At Portland, Maine, after stating 
that the two great issues of the campaign were reconcilia- 
tion and purification, he defined the three steps in reconciliation 
to be the driving out of carpetbaggers, universal amnesty, and 
restoring to Southerners all the rights of citizenship. This 
actually was a narrow political approach, but it permitted 
Greeley a basis from which to make a strong emotional plea 
for peace. 

Historians have often said that the nomination of Greeley 
ruined the chances of the Liberal Republican movement for 
success, that the reformers would have followed Adams or 
Trumbull but not the New Yorker. It is true, as Schurz 
wrote in a letter of May n, 1872, that the battleground was 
neither in the South nor among Democrats, those votes 

40 A. D. Mann to Jefferson Davis, Dec. 5, 1871, Rowland, "Davis," VII, 

41 Hill, "Life and Speeches," 350-366. 

42 New York Tribune, Sept. 20, 1872. 


were assured any candidate, but in the North among ele- 
ments which might be won away from Grant. It was in this 
respect that Greeley was weak and brought defeat. But while 
other candidates might have garnered a greater harvest of 
votes, the historian of reconciliation has still this to say, that 
no other candidate could have put a greater warmth, a purer 
sincerity, or a more unselfish, devotion in his plea for peace 
than Horace Greeley did in his memorable speaking tour of 
the late summer and fall of 1872. 

The Republican party fought the "New Departure," the 
Liberal Republican movement, and the Greeley campaign by 
the familiar methods of the "bloody shirt/' Why does the 
South support Horace Greeley? inquired Harper's Weekly. 
"It is not fraternity, nor reconciliation, nor unity which the 
representative Southern leaders desire. They wish power; and 
their way to power is the success of the Democratic party. " 
Greeley, so it was charged, was pledged to "undo as much 
of reconstruction as possible/' to pension Confederate vet- 
erans, and to let Southerners "take care of the niggers." 4S- 

Nast's pencil was busy. One of his most effective cartoons 
was devoted to the "New Departure." At the North a Demo- 
crat plays "the New Organ" to the tune of the "lost cause 
lost," while Tammany in the background says, "Let him play 
those Tunes and we will see if they will take." At the South 
Jeff Davis (Davis was rarely absent from Nast's cartoons) 
plays a hand organ "Bonnie Blue Flag" to the tune of 
"the lost cause not lost" while "K K K" listens with approval 
and a group of men exclaim, "That's the Talk ! That's the real 
Democratic Dixie." ** 

So savage did Nast's cartoons against Greeley become that 
G. W. Curtis, the editor, whose language as the reader of 
these pages can appreciate was not mild, protested, but Fletcher 
Harper, the owner, let Nast have his way. In fact the cam- 
paign can be told in terms of Nast cartoons. On August 3 
appeared a striking one, "Baltimore 1861-1872, Let Us Clasp 
Hands over the Bloody Chasm," in which Greeley (the 1872 
Democratic Convention met in Baltimore) reaches for the 

43 Harpers Weekly, July 20, Sept. 14, 1872. 
**7fctU, July i, 1871. 


dripping hands of a Southern bully who, revolver in hand, 
stands on the American flag and the bodies of soldiers of the 
Sixth Massachusetts regiment (fired upon in 1861 when 
marching through Baltimore). September 14, "the Wolf in 
Sheep's Clothing" idea was used again. A week later Greeley, 
Boss Tweed, and Brown represent "Lost Cause/' "Repudia- 
tion," "White Supremacy," "K K K," "The Constitution of 
1860," and so on, in an attack against a virtuous Uncle Sam 
defended by the Republican party. The same issue also car- 
ried a "Bloody Chasm" cartoon, with Andersonville prison 
feeding the chasm with blood, and Greeley fawningly reach- 
ing across to shake the hands of the perpetrators of the hor- 
rors. Possibly the limits of decency were reached when 
Greeley was depicted as a vulture resting on the ruins of 
colored orphan asylums and school houses. But Mark Twain, 
for one, thought that this greatest of American cartoonists 
now in his prime was, in this campaign, working for "civiliza- 
tion and progress." 

The Republican campaign probably was successful in mak- 
ing reconciliation seem the cheap staple of Democratic ambi- 
tion and lust for power. The North was cautioned that "letting 
the South have its way" would not bring peace but struggle. 45 
Henry Adams and James Russell Lowell wrote that if Greeley 
were elected "we should again witness that hideous uprising of 
exulting disloyalty and violence which greeted the reaction- 
ary course of President Johnson." ^ "The Greeley orators," 
wrote Curtis, "represent the Southern States as full of pros- 
trate and ruined brothers sighing for fraternal reconciliation 
and the Northern States as haughty and tyrannical, insolently 
insisting upon holding their hapless associates under an iron 
heel." 4T This approach was an effective prelude in manoeuvring 
the Democrats on to fatal ground. The Republicans could 
argue that peace on Greeley 's lips was surrender, while peace 
from Grant meant that reconciliation would wait upon the 
right settlement of basic issues. 

The argument seemed convincing. Such moderates as Godkin 

45 Harper's Weekly, Oct. 26, 1872. 

46 North American Rev., CXV (1872), 421-422. 
4T Harper's Weekly, Nov. 2, 1872. 


and Winthrop chose the lesser evil, Grant, primarily because 
they were not yet ready to believe that Southerners and Dem- 
ocrats were honest in their "New Departure/' The mouth- 
piece of Republicanism was quite correct in saying that the 
results indicated that "the vast majority of the American 
people know very well what they have won at such tre- 
mendous cost, and that they intend to maintain it to the last 
and the utmost." 4S It was the suspicion that the restoration of 
the Democratic party to power notwithstanding its assurances 
of acquiescence would imperil Northern interests and disturb 
the war settlement that explained Grant's second victory. 

Possibly it weakened the cause of reconciliation thus to 
have made it an issue. Certainly it did little good to have again 
the friendly gestures of Southerners spurned. "People weary/' 
as one lamented, "of continued self-control, self-abnegation 
and self-sacrifice, if all their efforts are turned back upon 
them as evidences of cunning, hypocrisy and deceit." 49 But 
still the impression remains that Greeley's work was not all 
in vain. Emotion is an elusive thing, often impossible to 
analyze. Greeley's defeat was a personal tragedy made com- 
plete by his death shortly after the election. A universal sense 
of pity stilled for a moment the indecent abuse that had made 
the preceding six months a turmoil of strife. It may well have 
been that Greeley as President could have done no more than 
cause a continuance of party warfare of the sections. In such 
a death as his, however, he gave the country its first experi- 
ence of a common heart throb since before the ancient divi- 
sions had begun. 

Four more years of Grant demonstrated the futility of ex- 
pecting peace through the Republican policy of pacification. 
Evils of carpetbag misrule in the South grew worse and the 
administration bogged in a morass of confusion that made 
more convincing the Democratic argument that solution could 
be realized only after "home rule" was restored to the South. 
Four more years of Grant also demonstrated the futility of 
expecting reform from within the ranks of the administra- 

bid., Nov. 23, 1872. 

49 Guy M. Bryan to Hayes, Aug. 29, 1871, "The Bryan-Hayes Corre- 
spondence," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXVI (1922), 61. 


tion and raised again the possibility of using the Democratic 
party as a broom to sweep clean the filth of office. As a con- 
sequence the Democrats gained strength in the years from 
1873 to 1876. In reverse, the Republicans were pressed to 
use more than ever the defensive weapon of the "bloody shirt." 

The most effective criticism directed against the pacifica- 
tion policy was made by Godkin in the columns of the Nation. 
Godkin began his attack well before the Greeley campaign, but 
it grew in volume as events in the South confirmed the ac- 
curacy of his trenchant observations and dire predictions. 
Through years of emphasis Godkin built up a complete dogma 
of the folly of Republican rule in the South and applied it to 
every episode that raised the Southern issue. His central con- 
ception was that the evils in Southern social and political 
conditions were not curable by legislation applied from outside. 
They were evils which could disappear only under the influ- 
ence of a general improvement of Southern society. Mean- 
while Radical interference, which Godkin asserted was selfishly 
motivated, acted only as an irritant. The proper men to solve 
Southern problems were Southern men in whom the South had 

The growth of this critical attitude towards Reconstruc- 
tion robbed the Republican party of some of its strength. 
Dana, editor of the New York Sun, originally a Radical, be- 
came a Democrat and made "No force bill ! No Negro dom- 
ination!" the constant cry of his newspaper throughout Grant's 
second administration. Pulitzer was another Republican who 
by 1876 had become a Democrat. Winthrop, who had been 
unable to support Greeley in 1872, by 1876 had come around 
to the support of Tilden. At last he could say that "I have 
no fear that such a change will endanger the great issues of the 
late war." 60 

On the other hand many men were still unready to trust 
the Democratic party. William Cullen Bryant, editor of the 
New York Evening Post, thought Tilden to be the best quali- 
fied man in politics for the Presidency. Yet he could not sup- 
port a Democrat and so cast his vote for Hayes. Carl Schurz 
acted likewise. James Russell Lowell, at last cured of his 

00 Winthrop, "Memoir," 298. 


Radicalism by the "shameful condition of things at the South/' 
was "ready for a movement now to emancipate the whites." 
But he still thought "that the intelligence of the country is 
decidedly on the Republican side" and so preferred to work 
from within the party. 51 So also the Nation, in spite of its 
exposure of Reconstruction frauds, thought that the war had 
taught some "tremendous lessons" which would better be 
expounded by Republican teachers than by Democratic. From 
the point of view of reconciliation it was not unfortunate that 
these men remained Republican. Within the party they con- 
stituted a "better element," certainly an unselfish one, which 
worked against the use of the "bloody shirt." As Democrats, 
even they -would not have escaped the suspicion that vexed 
that party's every proposal of reconciliation. 

Tilden, the party's nominee in 1876, felt some embarrass- 
ment in this respect. On every issue of the campaign, except 
the North-South rivalry, he seemed a stronger choice than the 
Republican Hayes. As Governor of New York his first inclina- 
tion was to keep silent on national issues. But urged by no 
less a person than Whitelaw Reid, a Republican, who had 
been made wise by what had happened to Greeley, Tilden 
finally made "a ringing declaration" accepting the results of 
the war. Again in his letter accepting the Democratic nomina- 
tion he had preferred to stress reform as the major issue and 
remain silent on the matter of his patriotism, which he felt 
could stand on its record. But before the campaign had pro- 
ceeded far he was influenced to speak specifically to the effect 
that the repose of the country need fear no unsettlement from 
his election. 52 

Throughout the years that criticism of Republican policy 
was developing, Republicans clung to the practice of inter- 
preting Southern news so as to maintain the fierce war spirit 
of the North. "Nowhere," wrote the editor of Harper's 
Weekly concerning outrages in the South, "except in the States 
where Republicans rule is there any safety for life and free- 
dom. It seems a fixed purpose of the Democratic politicians 

297-298; J. Bigelbw (ed), "Tilden's Public'Writings and "Speeches 7 ^ New 
York, 1895), II, 359-373, 381-382. 


to prevent the restoration of peace at the South, and in this 
policy they are unhappily encouraged by the Democratic and 
Liberal Republican leaders at the North. Both hope to keep up 
their party organization by inciting insurrection in Louisiana, 
and by charging upon the Administration those scenes of fatal 
discord which have sprung up from their evil promptings." 5S 
In 1876 the party met the reform issue by going outside the 
administration circle and nominating a "p ure " candidate, Ruth- 
erford B. Hayes, of Ohio. But to meet what Charles Francis 
Adams, Jr., in 1875 had described as a vast majority of 
Northern sentiment against Southern abuses, the party had only 
the "bloody shirt" for defense. 

Whether the Democratic eagerness to embarrass their op- 
ponents, or the Republican desire to evade responsibility caused 
the phenomenon, or whether it was inherent in the situation, 
the sectional division rapidly became the major talking point 
of the election of 1876. From the day in January when James 
G. Elaine tore "from the throat of treason the tongue of 
slander [and] snatched the mask of Democracy from the 
hideous face of the rebellion" (as Robert Ingersoll described 
it), by deliberately charging Jefferson Davis with responsi- 
bility for the old tragedies of Andersonville, until the votes 
were cast in November, the country was again deluged in a 
flood of sectional abuse. It was a great contest of recrimina- 
tion in which selfish partisan ends triumphed over every other 
consideration of national good. The feeble efforts of moderates 
like Schurz, Reid, Tilden, Lowell and Godkin to keep the 
issue on reform failed miserably. Democrats used language as 
vindictive as the Republicans. Most men went one road or 
the other to extremes, as did Thomas Wentworth Higginson 
who, having first sought compromise, later let himself be aroused 
by the stories of Negro persecution. 

The hopes of moderates that Hayes would keep a balance 
were also dissipated. A year before his nomination he had ex- 
pressed disgust with Radical tactics. Reformers like Schurz 
were intimately in touch with him, giving advice to stand on 
reform and "honest money" and to avoid the sectional issue. 
For years Hayes had been in correspondence with a close 

68 Harper's Weekly, May 3, 1873. 


Southern friend, Guy Bryan, who urged him to be the states- 
man of good feeling. But the transformation of Hayes 
began in his letter of acceptance, July 8, when he agreed to 
the Republican definition of peace as meaning the "permanent 
pacification of the South/* By August he was convinced that 
a "vast majority of the plain people think of this as the main 
question in the canvass, A Democratic victory zuill bring 
the Rebellion into power." Hence it was not difficult for him 
to see the utility of appealing to the sentiment. By September 
he had convinced himself that the danger of a "united South 
victory and Tilden's [war] record were the two major issues 
of the canvass." By election day he was the prey of his own 
fears and fully believed that if he were not elected the "poor 
colored men of the South will be in a more deplorable con- 
dition than when they were in slavery." 54 

The election ended a deadlock in which it was impossible to 
decide whether the people wanted Hayes or Tilden. The com- 
ment of Governor Seymour, in retirement, made in April 1876, 
that the "Republicans have lost the confidence of the coun- 
try and the Democrats have not gained it/' seemed evident in 
the result. 55 Or as Godkin expressed it, the real issue had been 
how to get rid of Republican rascals without handing over the 
government to that portion of the country lately in rebellion. 56 
The solution came as a compromise effected between Novem- 
ber 1876 and March 1877, but only after the nation again 
faced the grim prospect of civil war brought on by the reckless 
indulgence of party enmity. 

The Compromise of 1877 pleased those Northerners who 
still dreaded the prospect of a national Democratic adminis- 
tration, by placing Hayes in the White House to purify the 
Republican party. Hayes was tacitly committed to the restora- 
tion of white rule in the South, and Southerners seemed 
perfectly satisfied with their share of the spoils. 67 Only the 
Northern Democrats got nothing for their efforts. But even 

54 On Hayes see, C. R. Williams, "The Life of Rutherford Birchard 
Hayes" (Boston, 1914), I, 383, 461-462, 493-494; "Bryan-Hayes Corre- 
spondence," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXVI, 292-293; Schurz, 
"Writings," III, 161, 215, 240, 248, 252, 258, 284, 285, 338. 

55 As quoted in Harper's Weekly, April 22, 1876. 

56 Nation, Sept. 28, 1876. 

57 Charleston News and Courier, Feb. 19, March 3, 1877. 


they could take consolation in knowledge of the fact that 
Reconstruction now come to an end had given them a solid 
Southern vote as a source of strength in future elections. 

The removal of Federal troops from the South by a Re- 
publican President and the restoration of home rule to South- 
ern whites had important consequences in shaping the future 
course of the sectional issue in politics. The editors of the 
Nation and Harper's Weekly were over optimistic in expect- 
ing that the end of Reconstruction would mean the end of 
the Solid South. But it is true that the last of the three great 
political factors that had rent the nation asunder (the debate 
over slavery, the struggle for Southern independence, and the 
trials of Reconstruction) no longer existed. The hurt was in 
the past, and, while the South remained a problem often vexa- 
tious, the proportions of that problem were never again to 
reach the degree where they would overwhelm the good sense 
of the country. 

The Compromise of 1877 implied a surrender to those who 
had insisted upon a thorough establishment of strong nation- 
alism and complete equality as the results of the war. It was 
the first great compromise in which the Republican party, 
originated largely as an enemy of compromise, had partici- 
pated. It seemed almost as though the parties were returning 
to the politics of sectional adjustment by trial and error, give 
and take, that had characterized the era before 1850. Had this 
"surrender" been made under Democratic auspices it would 
have been exploited by Republicans as material for the "bloody 
shirt." But accomplished by a Republican administration as 
the concession to the privilege of peacefully retaining power, 
the burden of defense rested upon the party which prided it- 
self upon its adherence to the strictest standards of loyalty. 
Hayes, not Tilden, had the burden of proving that he had not 
sold for party advantage the nation's well-being and the 
Negro's future. 

As President, Hayes completely committed himself to a 
policy of leniency. The Federal troops were removed from the 
South. Carpetbag governments toppled. White men governed 
from Virginia to Texas, a vast Democratic area, anti-Republi- 
can in politics, in which the Negro became again what he had 


been in 1860, the ward of the dominant race. An ex-Confed- 
erate, Keys of Tennessee, was given a cabinet position the 
first evidence that Republican officialdom admitted the self- 
professed reformation of a rebel. Hayes's first message to 
Congress, justifying his Southern policy, is eloquent of the 
change that had taken place. 

To complete and make permanent the pacification of the coun- 
try continues to be, and until it is fully accomplished must remain, 
the most important of all our national interests. . . . There was 
[1876] a widespread apprehension that the momentous results 
in our progress as a nation marked by the recent amendments to 
the Constitution were in imminent jeopardy; that the good under- 
standing which prompted their adoption, in the interest of a loyal 
devotion to the general welfare, might prove a barren truce, and 
that the two sections of the country, once engaged in civil strife, 
might be again almost as widely severed and disunited as they 
were when arrayed in arms against each other. [To end this sit- 
uation Hayes withdrew the troops, a policy] which pointed to 
the time . . . when a genuine love of our whole country . . . 
shall supplant the destructive forces of mutual animosity of 
races and of sectional hostility. . . . The discontinuance of the use 
of the Army for the purpose of upholding local governments 
. . . was no less a constitutional duty and requirement . . . than 
it was a much needed measure for the restoration of local self- 
government and the promotion of national harmony. 

Here indeed was a curious medley of old phrases and new 
necessities in imperfect adjustment. On one hand the passage 
of the amendments was associated with national progress and 
was said to have been prompted in the interests of the gen- 
eral welfare. On the other the enforcement of the amendments 
by federal power was destroying the Union. Actually force of 
circumstances dictated the course Hayes pursued. His discom- 
fort arose primarily from the fact that the only possible 
justification he could find was the familiar Democratic argu- 
ments of unconstitutionality and reconciliation. 

The country also had the novel spectacle of seeing a Repub- 
lican President attempting to ingratiate himself with the 
South. On Memorial Day Hayes participated in ceremonies in 
Tennessee where flowers were strewn upon the graves of both 


Federal and Confederate dead, while his ex-Confederate Post- 
master General took part in a similar ceremony in Ohio. In the 
fall Hayes made a good-will tour of the South. At Louisville 
prominent Southerners sat on the same platform with the 
President, and earnest and patriotic pleas for a fraternal union 
of good will were exchanged. Most prominent among the 
Southerners with whom Hayes associated in the deeper South 
was Wade Hampton, the storm center of the South Carolina 
election of 1876. It was a gratifying picture, the Nation ob- 
served, to see the President who had been elected by the "bloody 
shirt," within one short year, "traveling triumphantly through 
the South, pleading before joyous multitudes for union and 
conciliation/' 5S No less significant, perhaps, was the spectacle 
of Hampton, who had won his governorship on what might 
be termed the Southern model of the "bloody shirt," also 
advocating peace and harmony. 

The Compromise of 1877 also affected reconciliation In that 
it committed the Republicans favorably disposed to Hayes to the 
necessity of preaching before the country the finality of the 
truce. The disputed election had taught the nation concretely 
to what extremes sectional partisanship might lead. In the 
sober afterthought most Northerners welcomed as salutary a 
change which would emphasize concord rather than discord. 
This change in psychology was reflected even in such rigid 
abolitionists as Whittier, who expressed the opinion that the 
Negro would be better off without the protection of Federal 
troops and Republican support in the South than with them, 
really a remarkable change in opinion impossible to explain 
except in terms of how grave the crisis before the Compromise 
had appeared. 

The change in tone was most strikingly if not brazenly 
shown by certain of the "bloody shirt" spellbinders. Most 
notably was this true of Robert Ingersoll whose heart-rending 
speech on Andersonville had been given throughout the North 
and had been a chief reliance of the Republicans. During 
March 1877 Ingersoll delivered a series of lectures in leading 
Northern cities in which he not merely recommended the pol- 
icy of conciliation but also admitted that his different line of 

68 Nation, Sept. 27, 1877. 


talk had been deliberately directed to arouse Northern hostility 
against the South so as to elect a Republican President. 

Curious also was the complete revolution in the editorial 
policy of Harper's Weekly. This important Republican jour- 
nal saw a new light when Hayes lifted from its back the 
burden of defending corruption and carpetbaggery. Almost 
with unseemly haste the "bloody shirt" came down and the 
flag of reconciliation took its place. Harper's Weekly essayed 
the task of defending the President's policy and did as com- 
plete a job for leniency as it earlier had done for Radicalism. 

Striking while the moment was opportune, prominent South- 
ern Democrats embarked upon a conscious program of impress- 
ing the North with their loyalty. A good beginning had been 
made in February 1877 when Southern Congressmen stood by 
the bargain which permitted Hayes to reach the presidency 
and cautiously refrained from joining in the wild assertions 
of some of the Northern Democrats. So moderate was their 
stand as to evoke from Harper's Weekly the comment "if this 
is Southern Democracy, it is wonderfully like the best North- 
ern Republicanism." 59 Hill, Lamar, and Gordon, especially 
strove to make a good impression. Senator Hill not only 
spoke frequently and at length about the Southern desire to 
cement a true union between the sections, but also took de- 
cisive steps to kill any action within Democratic ranks toward 
recognizing Southern war claims. 

The conservative East was also gratified to find Hill and 
Lamar giving effective aid to "sound money" in the silver 
crisis of 1878. Hill spoke convincingly for the absolute rec- 
ognition of the obligation of all contracts in terms of gold. 
Lamar, although instructed by his State to vote for silver, 
also stood on the conservative side. It was commented that 
two former Confederates were "earnestly and eloquently in- 
sisting upon keeping faith and redeeming in their full spirit 
and intention the promise of the government, [while] . . . 
devoted supporters of the Union during the war now were 
insisting the government shall partially repudiate its' obliga- 
tions." 60 Hill seemed especially deserving of applause in the 

Harper's Weekly, May 5, 1877. 
60 Ibid., Feb. 16, 1878. 


eyes of Eastern conservatives when he said, "I tried my best 
[during the war] to make the bondholder who purchased at 
sixty cents lose the sixty cents he gave, but now I am for 
giving him the dollar he was promised." 61 Apart from the 
economic merits of the case, it is significant that on the money 
question the conservative East and the liberal West were again 
seeking, as of old, political support in the South. Here was 
promise of a future division on grounds other than the war 

The South also began in this period the practice of sending 
some of her most persuasive orators into the North to play 
upon the emotions of the people. Senator Gordon, of Georgia, 
with a romantic background of Confederate service, beloved of 
ladies, handsome and ingratiating, was among the first of 
these emissaries. "I care not what mere politicians may say," 
said the mere politician Gordon in an address before the 
Commercial Club of Boston, in the spring of 1878, "the 
true sentiment and intuitive perceptions of the people of 
the country will refuse to believe and refuse to base the 
future legislation of the country on the unceasing assertion 
that any portion of the people are the enemies of the country. 
In his heart of hearts the politician himself does not believe 
it. You men of Massachusetts, you Republicans or Democrats, 
do not Relieve it. ... The causes that divided us are gone, 
and gone forever. The interests which now unite us will 
unite forever." 62 If it be said that the business men who 
thus mixed food with oratory were thinking of profits in the 
South, and that Gordon was interested in developing in the 
North an opinion favorable to the advancement of Southern 
ends, it can be answered that that is just what makes the epi- 
sode significant. Another thread of interest was being woven 
into the rent fabric of national life to offer some resistance to 
the separating pull of "bloody shirt" politics. 

A year earlier, in June 1877, Wade Hampton, the stormy 
petrel of so many sectional issues, visited Auburn, New York. 
He was introduced by a Northern Republican, who developed 
the theme that the "war is ended. . . . The record is made up 

61 Mayes, "Lamar," 333- 

62 As quoted in Harper's Weekly, May 18, 1878. 


and the issues can now be retired." Hampton began by cry- 
ing "Amen" to this sentiment, and then explained that the 
contest in South Carolina had not been against the North, or 
primarily for party success, but for good government and 
civilization. He also made assurances of future protection to 
the Negro. "I come/' he concluded, "to do honor to my dis- 
tinguished friend General Shields. He wore the blue and I 
wore the gray, but we can let the curtain drop over these years, 
and go back to the time when that flag borne by him waved 
alike over the men of the South and the men of the North, 
and we can look beyond to the future, when through all time 
that flag shall float over a free and prosperous and reunited 
country." 63 

Typical also was the speech of a North Carolina Congress- 
man, Wadell, in New York, in May 1878. As a Confederate 
veteran, he made a glowing tribute to the "boys in blue," 
promised to support every bill in Congress that the Northern 
veterans needed, and asked for nothing for the South except 
the privilege of local self-government. His conclusion struck 
a note that would ring time and time again in the later years of 
the century "whenever in the future it [the Stars and 
Stripes] shall be unfurled in war, the Confederate soldier 
will be found beneath it, ready to give his life in its defense." 6 * 
When finally Alexander H. Stephens, former Vice-President 
of the Confederacy, now in Congress, participated in the 
ceremonies honoring Lincoln's memory on February 12, 1878, 
old Jubal A. Early, having seen with rising indignation Hill 
fraternizing with Elaine, Lamar seeking "to instill into the 
hearts of Mississippians principles of morality and honesty 
gathered from the land of steady habits/ " broke out wrath- 
fully in a letter to Davis, "Are our Southern representatives, 
and bitterest revilers of the North, about to resolve them- 
selves into a mutual admiration society, leaving such 'irre- 
concilables' as you and myself out in the cold?" 65 To those, 
however, who were looking for the rainbow this Southern 
policy of ingratiation seemed a hopeful sign. 

63 Harper's Weekly, July 7, 1877. 

"7Wa.,May2 S , ^8. 

65 Early to Davis, Feb. 16, 1878, Rowland, "Davis," VIII, 82. 


Not all, however, felt inclined to soften the issues between 
the sections. In fact the major portions of both parties sought 
to keep alive old issues and rekindle the fire of the people. 
The Northern Democrats had not been pleased with the com- 
promise and were not prone to sit back quietly permitting 
"His Fraudulency," as Hayes was dubbed, to enjoy his ad- 
ministration. The Democratic majority in the House of Rep- 
resentatives reopened the quarrel in the session of 1877- 
1878 by investigating the election of 1876 in the hope of 
discovering. Republican fraud. This was the signal for the 
professionals in the Republican party to come back to life and 
wave with renewed vigor their beloved garment. "I can't 
go this new policy" of Hayes, wrote Elaine, who was nearer 
the center of gravity in the Republican party than was the 
President. "Every instinct of my nature rebels against it, 
and I feel an intuition amounting to an inspiration that the 
North in adopting it is but laying up wrath against the day of 
wrath. In any event its success means the triumph of the 
Democratic party, against which I wage eternal war ! Carthago 
delenda est" 66 

The first element responsible for the persistence of the 
"bloody shirt" was a large, if somewhat nebulously defined, 
group which had developed, in the long years of dispute, fixed 
beliefs in regard to sectional issues. Thomas Nast was of this 
type. While the editorial policy of Harper's Weekly changed, 
Nast continued with unabated fury to draw his cartoons of 
hatred and suspicion. Deep into Northern homes had pene- 
trated the idea that disloyal Southerners were still conspiring 
to destroy the Union and reenslave the Negro. In such 
circles the Democratic party was viewed as the treacherous 
ally of the enemy. Such ideas died slowly, and while they 
lasted the "bloody shirt" orator had reason to believe an 
appeal to sectional distrust might win votes. 

A second element was composed of honest zealots who had 
"labored so long for the emancipation of the slaves that the 
Negro has undergone a sort of transfiguration in their minds 
and appears to be right in any conflict with his old master." 67 

66 Elaine to Reid, April 12, 1877, Cortissoz, "Reid," I, 377, 

67 Nation, April 12, 1877, 


Wendell Phillips in an article in the North American Review 
revealed the mental content of this group. 

The cement of the [Republican] party was a principle. . . . 
The men who created the Republican party were men of con- 
viction. They sought, more or less directly, but in dead earnest, 
to limit and kill slavery. . . . Lacking its old cement a great 
purpose the party is falling to pieces, like boulders from a 
wall without mortar. Its managers have been so dull and timid 
in using the great victory, they have so wasted their opportunity, 
that they have suffered the Southern question their whole cap- 
ital to fall prematurely into abeyance. On their own theory 
they stand today with no raison d'etre, no excuse for their exist- 
ence. Their strength lay in a public opinion well informed as to 
the Southern purpose and the nature of Southern civilization, and 
watchful of the possible reaction from its sore defeat. 

Phillips was adamant in his disbelief that "such a conspiracy 
as that of the South [ever] surrenders the hope of success," 
that "it was the Republicans' duty to keep alive at white heat 
the lesson and vigilance of the war/' that Hayes' policy was 
a betrayal, and that Lamar and Gordon in their "pretty 
speeches" were hypocrites. 68 

The third and most important element consisted of parti- 
sans like Elaine, Conkling, Logan, and Garfield, about whom 
it may be said that they cared less about patriotism and the 
Negro than that they regarded them as trophies of the war 
to use for party purposes. To this group the Democratic 
party was still an enemy to be destroyed, Southern whites 
were irreconcilable, and any hostility or prejudice against the 
Negro was a sign of a "new rebellion." This group which 
had been dominant under Grant accepted Hayes only with 
great distaste and were soon in open hostility to his policy of 
leniency toward the South. 

Not only were the old aspects of the "bloody shirt" re- 
tained; new patches were added. Thus Agnus Cameron, of 
Wisconsin, bemoaned that the "divine compassion" of the 
Republican party in its treatment of rebels had been rewarded 

68 Wendell Phillips, "The Outlook," North American Rev., CXXVII 
(1878), 97, 98, ioo, 101. 


by establishment of a Solid South directed against the Union. 
"Without the Solid South the Democratic party would be a 
feeble fiction a moral night-scavenger's cart, laden with the 
offscourings of Tipperary civilization, instead of a war-chariot 
armed with disciplined and exultant soldiers, confident of an 
early victory over their benefactors/' 69 The Republicans now 
had a grievance to talk about the Solid South built upon 
fraud. "As the matter now stands, all violence in the South 
inures to the benefit of one political party," wrote Elaine in 
1879. "And that party is counting upon its accession to power 
and its rule over the country for a series of years by reason 
of the great number of electoral votes which it wrongfully 
gains. Financial credit, commercial enterprises, manufacturing 
industries, may all possibly pass under the control of the 
Democratic party by reason of its unlawful seizure of politi- 
cal power." 70 

To these men "the cure for all the evils we endure all of 
them spawned by rebellion is not to be found in concilia- 
tion . . . but in sustaining the party that restored the Union 
of the fathers, clad now in the white robes of freedom, un- 
sullied and irreproachable." n Soon the cry was raised that 
a Solid North must be effected to oppose a Solid South. 72 

A fourth element, partly an outgrowth of the third, was 
made up of those who found distasteful the policies of the 
Democratic party in control of the House of Representatives 
since 1875. Every step was carefully scrutinized by Republi- 
cans who hoped to find mistakes that could be made the occa- 
sion for a new development of the "bloody shirt." Typical was 
General Sherman, who seemingly grew more Radical with 
age. He was especially disturbed by Democratic efforts to cut 
down the size and expense of the military establishment. In 
his irritation he immediately jumped to the conclusion that the 
Democratic majority in the House was unpatriotic. "They 
are resolved to cut down the Army, so as afterwards to in- 
crease it by new regiments commanded by the Southern officers 

69 Agnus Cameron, "The Irrepressible Conflict Undecided," North Amer- 
ican Rev., CXXVI ( 1878) , 488. 

70 Elaine, North American Rev., CXXVIII (1879), 282-283. 

71 Cameron, op. cit., 490. 

72 Notion, Aug. 15, 1878. 


who deserted in 1861," he wrote privately on November 12, 
1 877. The next spring he asserted in a public address that 
the Confederates had been welcomed bade into the family 
group so early and so completely as to impair the position "of 
the remainder of the family who stood faittiful all the time." 74 
Throughout the Hayes administration General Sherman talked 
and wrote of treasonable Democrats and unrepentant rebels. 
The man who in 1866 had spoken contemptuously of Radi- 
cals, twelve years later could write, "I do fear that unless the 
Union men of the North are careful, the Southern Democracy 
will govern the party, consequently Jeff Davis and his men will 
become the patriots whilst Mr. Lincoln aa<l those of us who 
fought will be regarded and treated as traitors. This is no 
chimera, but is a struggle now in progress, and may lead to 
further strife and blood/' 75 

By 1878 it was apparent that the Congressional elections 
of that year were to be fought on lines of the ancient antag- 
onisms and not under the new dispensation of peace and har- 
mony. The tug of war within the Republican party was de- 
cided. In 1877 the State conventions had ratied in sentiment, 
Ohio and Massachusetts speaking in favoor of Hayes, New 
York and Pennsylvania lukewarm and soin<vhat noncommit- 
tal, with Iowa and Maine distinctly inclined to extremism. 
On the other hand every Democratic convention held in 1877 
had congratulated "the country upon the acceptance by the 
present Administration of the Constitutional and pacific pol- 
icy of local self-government in the States of the South, 
so long advocated by the Democratic paltry, and which has 
brought peace and harmony to that section"* But in 1878 the 
Republican State Conventions were distinctly bellicose in tone. 
Hayes was subordinated. Chief emphasis was given the Solid 
South "built upon a fraudulent base/' its thr^t to national se- 
curity, rebel claims, persecution of the Nepro, and the "trea- 
sonable" attacks of the Democrats upon the military estab- 
lishment. 76 In this year the apparent material from which all 

73 W. T. Sherman, "Home Letters," 386-387. 

74 Memorial Day Address, May 30, 1878 (pamphlet:), 

75 Sherman, "Home Letters," 387-388. 

76 E. McPherson, "Handbook of Politics for 1878" (Washington, 1878), 


Republican platforms were built was, to quote the Nation, a 
conception "that a state of war exists in this country, and 
that there is a body of public enemies encamped on our soil 
now seeking to seize the Government." 77 

Harper's Weekly admitted the party was divided on the 
wisdom of using the "bloody shirt/' insisting however that 
the rank and file were favorable to Hayes. 78 The curiously 
inconsistent Garfield opined after the election that the "man 
who attempts to get up a political excitement in this country 
on the old sectional issues will find himself without a party 
and without support." 79 Yet Garfield and the party chieftains 
had done exactly that, and made of the campaign of 1878 
the same weary story of sectional distrust. 

The conduct of the elections in the South deprived the 
moderates, who had banked so much upon Hampton's assur- 
ances of fair play for the Negro, of their main argument that 
if let alone the South would accept party divisions and permit 
the Negro equal enjoyment of his constitutional privileges. 
But the South remained solid, and built its unanimity upon a 
general disfranchisement of the Negro that in places, notably 
Hampton's South Carolina, descended to sheer brutality. This 
was of course rare political capital for the Republican leaders, 
who exploited it with increasing fervor from November 1878, 
through 1879, until they made it a prime issue in the presiden- 
tial canvass of 1880. Even the friendly Nation and the new 
convert to moderation, Harper's Weekly, were affected, con- 
cluding that the Southern whites had betrayed a trust, and 
that somehow a remedy must be found through the Republican 
party. "If the South is to be solid for foul play," wrote 
Harper's Weekly, falling back into its old habit of distrust, 
"the North will be equally solid against it." * 

So another projected bridging of the chasm collapsed in ruin. 
The North and South had so many dissension-making differ- 
ences, so few harmony-making communities of interest, that 
the engineers of peace seemed working on a hopeless task. 

The "bloody shirt" now proceeded on the argument that the 

77 Nation, July 4, 1878. 

78 Harpers Weekly, March 2, 1878. 

79 Congressional Record, Dec. 10, 1878. 

80 Harper's Weekly, Nov. 2, 1878. 


"systematic terror of Southern Democrats," and not "Repub- 
lican misdeeds/' had reopened the sectional issue. 81 Hayes took 
this stand in his second annual message to Congress in De- 
cember 1878, and from that time on there seemed to be a 
complete surrender to those elements in the party who had 
never sought peace with the Democrats. When to this was 
added in the Congressional session of 1878-1879 a Democratic 
attack upon the Federal election laws, enacted by Republicans 
in the Grant Administration for safeguarding a "loyal" vote 
in the South, the Republican leaders thought they had an 
invincible case for the application of "bloody shirt" tactics. 
Garfield, upon whom the mantle of party leadership was about 
to fall, was especially active in attacking Democratic "nullifi- 
cation" in Congress and the "revival of State Sovereignty 
ideas." 82 

The campaign of 1880 began, as one commentator observed, 
with "looseness of opinion on all questions except the con- 
dition of the South." ** On this issue the Republicans sought 
purposely to foster strife, while the Democrats made no honest 
effort at any solid solution, contenting themselves with con- 
tinued repeal of Republican safeguards for the Negro. Be- 
tween these two positions there was little comfort for the 
moderate who again saw the extremes triumph over the mid- 
dle. Again the nation participated in the old, prolonged debate 
as to whether the people of one half the country were or were 
not to be trusted in their fidelity and patriotism. 

Thus the unanswered question was raised as the issue of the 
campaign Shall "the people who rebelled against the United 
States government . . . gain full possession of that govern- 
ment?" "The war has now been over more than fifteen years/' 
wrote the veteran Julian in ironic criticism of the Republican 
methods, "and yet the Rebels have so fair a prospect of cap- 
turing the government that the effort to save it cannot be 
balked in the slightest degree by any inquiries into the man- 
agement of public affairs since the close of the conflict." * 

61 Harper's Weekly, Nov. 30, 1878. 
82 Garfield, "Works/' II, 679-722. 
** Nation, March 6, 1879. 
^Julian, "Later Speeches/' 195. 


The Republican Campaign Text Book for 1880 devoted more 
than half its space to "bloody shirt" themes. Harper's Weekly 
resumed its old cudgels. Garfield, who at first indicated a de- 
sire to stand on the financial issue, soon retreated into the 
shelter of the war record issue. 

Treason may make its boast, my boys, 

And seek to rule again; 
Our Jim shall meet its hosts, my boys, 

And strike with might and main! 
Once more he'll crush the foe, my boys, 

With arm and bosom bare; 
And this shall be his field, my boys, 

The Presidential Chair! 

Before election day, Republicans were declaring the South to 
be the major issue of the campaign. 

The "bloody shirt" was probably not so important in caus- 
ing Garfield's election in 1880 as were Hancock's inability to 
force a more positive discussion on economic issues and the 
purity of Hayes's administration, which quieted the reform 
issue. Nevertheless this chapter ends with politics exercising 
the same divisive influence upon national life that it had exer- 
cised in 1865. To be sure there was much evidence that many 
people were wearying of the prolongation of the old quarrel 
between North and South in politics. As Lamar observed, "it 
required no courage [to wave the bloody shirt] ; it required 
no magnanimity to do it; it required no courtesy. It only re- 
quired hate, bitter, malignant sectional feeling." 85 It was also 
perfectly understood that partisan extremity North bred parti- 
san extremity South. Yet each recurring election saw the na- 
tion slip back again into a practice apparently become habitual. 

It could not be otherwise so long as the chasm between 
North and South remained unclosed. The day might come when 
the lurid red of the "bloody shirt" would fade into an inof- 
fensive pink, and the garment through constant usage be 
worn into rags so disreputable that few would care to don it. 
But when that day came the chasm would first have been 

"Mayes, "Lamar," 365. 


closed. So far as the reconciliation of North and South was 
concerned politics were ever a negative force. It is time that 
we turn to the positive influences that even in the turbulent 
fifteen years after 1865 were raising the promise of ultimate 



THROUGH the long years of controversy that bred in North 
and South an unyielding sense of difference, there could also 
be found a persistent desire for peace. It was in the daily 
experience of all Americans to observe, with the editor of the 
New York Tribune, that "the bulk of the people of this coun- 
try North and South do not hate each other, and it is a wretched 
piece of dishonesty on the part of the politicians whose trade 
is loyalty to make them believe they do/' x "There is but one 
sentiment among the thinking men of the South/' wrote a 
Texan, "and it is, Give us peace. Give us confidence, hope, 
and a foundation on which we can rebuild." 2 Grant's "Let us 
have peace/' while prostituted to party ends, nevertheless dem- 
onstrated that the North too sought surcease from strife. 

The excitement through which the country had passed and 
was passing, the suffering and the sorrow, the inflammatory 
appeals and constant agitation, and the never-relenting bitter- 
ness, filled the hearts, as Governor Vance of North Carolina 
said, "with indescribable yearnings for national peace, for a 
complete moral as well as physical restoration of the Union." 3 
Those who looked to the future of the country which war had 
reunited appreciated the desirability of softening the animosi- 
ties between the sections. "We are Americans," an orator 
before the New England Society of New York declared in 
1876. "Sons of the Pilgrims, you are not to war -with savage 
men and savage beasts, you are not to tame a continent nor 

1 New York Tribune, April 29, 1874. 

2 "Bryan-Hayes Correspondence," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 
XXV, 296. 

3 C. Dowd, "Life of Zebulon B. Vance" (Charlotte, 1897), 238-239. 


even found a State. Our task is nobler, is diviner. Our task, 
sir, is to reconcile a nation." * 

Confronted by the prejudices and passions of the war and 
postwar periods, this sentiment often seemed hopeless. But 
good will is a slow distillation of many inchoate promptings. 
Its workings are rarely so dramatic or so capable of such neat 
analysis as dissension. Often it is taken for granted as though 
it needed no explanation. It came to a yearning people with 
no sudden realization, but quietly permeated the humblest 
folkways of the nation. Thus it was that the desire for peace 
found its first outlet in reconciling those who mourned at the 
graves of their dead soldiers. 

The origin of Memorial Day, like everything that grows 
from common clay, is a development from obscure beginnings. 
During the war women of the South found relief for their 
saddened hearts by strewing flowers upon the fresh graves of 
husbands, sons, and brothers. The tragedy of defeat made 
dearer and perhaps more necessary this practice, which soon 
became customary. Northern troops of occupation moving 
South in late April and early May 1865 observed that com- 
munities everywhere were decorating their Confederate graves. 
The practice commended itself to the conquering invader. Es- 
pecially did it seem fitting that the lonely graves of Federal 
soldiers buried in the South should be remembered. Small 
groups of Unionists, sometimes an individual alone, per- 
formed the rite in communities scattered throughout the 
South. Frequently Negroes joined in bringing flowers to the 
graves of their deliverers. One such occasion transcended 
others in importance and, attracting nation-wide attention, in- 
troduced the idea of Memorial Day to the North. In Charleston, 
South Carolina, on May 30, 1865, James Redpath led a 
throng of Negro school children to the bleak spot near the city 
where rested the remains of several hundred Union soldiers 
in four long trenches. Quietly the ugly mounds were covered 
with flowers strewn by black hands which knew only that the 
dead they were honoring had raised them from a condition of 


4 G. W. Curtis, Address before the New England Society of New York, 
C. E. Norton (ed.), "Orations and Addresses of George William Curtis" 
(New York, 1894), I, 129. 


The movement spread to the North. The spring of 1866 
and that of 1867 witnessed a growing number of ceremonies. 
The thought occurred to several men prominent in the newly 
organized Grand Army of the Republic that the practice might 
well be sponsored by their society. Consequently on May 5, 
1868, a general order was issued by the Commander in chief, 
John A. Logan, designating the thirtieth day of May as a na- 
tional Memorial Day "for the purpose of strewing with flowers 
the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country 
during the late war of the rebellion, and whose bodies lie in 
almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the 
land." Soon it was made obligatory for every post to observe 
the day and for every comrade to attend unless illness pre- 
vented. In 1868, the first national Memorial Day, one hun- 
dred and three such services were recorded. In 1869 the 
number grew to three hundred and thirty-six. It was to in- 
crease many fold in later years as the Grand Army of the 
Republic perfected its organization, reaching into every com- 
munity in the land. In 1873 the legislature of New York 
designated the thirtieth of May as a legal holiday. Rhode 
Island did likewise in 1874. Vermont and New Hampshire 
followed in 1876 and 1877, Wisconsin in 1879, and Massa- 
chusetts and Ohio in 1881. Within a decade thereafter every 
State in the North observed the day as a legal holiday. In the 
South a Confederate Memorial Day was legalized, but the 
date of its observance varied. 5 

The holiday thus initiated had an original significance it 
no longer possesses. The Civil War had saddened virtually 

5 Two fat volumes, "National Memorial Day" (Washington, 1868, 1869), 
describe the ceremonies held under the auspices of the Grand Army of the 
Republic on the first and second generally observed Memorial Days. E. 
Marble, "Origin of Memorial Day," New England Magazine, XXXII (1905), 
467-470, is typical of the accounts written from memory of personal experi- 
ences. Redpath's part is narrated in C. F. Horner, "The Life of James Red- 
path" (New York, 1926), 111-119. H. L. Matthews and E. E. Rule, Me- 
morial Day Selections (Lynn, 1893), is a sample of the many books and 
pamphlets prepared for school use. The newspapers, especially the New York 
Tribune, annually noted the day in editorials and news stories. Typical of the 
many magazine sketches is B. Matthews, "A Decoration Day Revery," Cen- 
tury, XL (1890), 102-105. Stories like C. F. Woolson, "Rodman the Keeper" 
(New York, 1880), and S. O. Jewett, "Decoration Day," in "A Native of 
Winby and Other Tales" (Boston, 1894), show insight into what the day 
meant to ordinary people. A mass of pamphlet material exists, composed of 
speeches, programs of ceremonies, poems, and records of the activities of 
veteran organizations. 


every homestead in the land. Few were the persons who could 
not number among near relatives one who had given his life 
in the war. It should also be remembered that holidays were 
not in the seventies so numerous as they have become. A visit 
to the graves of the dead was not merely a sad rite of re- 
membrance but also a diversion. The excitement of speech- 
making, the mingling with crowds, the appeal of marching 
men, the pageantry of school children bearing flowers, and the 
playing of martial music made Memorial Day a recreational 
feature in the lives of our mothers and fathers. 

It was feared at first that the annual event would prove a 
permanent reminder of sectional enmity. Could men honor the 
memory of the fallen, cherish the cause for which the sacrifice 
had been made, and exhort the living to remember without per- 
petuating passions that perhaps should be set aside ? Indeed no 
cordiality of sentiment toward erstwhile foes was possible in 
the early years after Appomattox. Rather there was a tendency 
to assume that only Federal soldiers deserved remembrance 
while those who had fought on the losing side should remain 
unhonored. Occasionally a note of reconciliation was ventured, 
but it rang hollow and unconvincing. Especially did this appear 
true at Arlington Cemetery in 1869 where the orator pleaded 
for a brotherly union between the sections while Union veterans 
stood guard over the graves of Confederates to prevent flowers 
being spread over the remains of rebels. 

The same contrasting tendencies were revealed in 1867 when 
Francis Miles Finch published his poem, 'The Blue and the 
Gray/' 6 Finch, reading that some women in Mississippi had 
placed flowers impartially over the graves of Confederate and 
Union soldiers, was inspired to write what later became the 
great folk poem of Memorial Day. 

From the silence of sorrowful hours 

The desolate mourners go, 
Lovingly laden with flowers 
Alike for the friend and the foe; 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Under the roses, the Blue; 

e First published in Atlantic Monthly, XX (1867), 36^-370. 


Under the lilies, the Gray. 
Sadly, but not with upbraiding, 
The generous deed was done; 
In the storm of the years that are fading, 
No braver battle was won : 
Under the sod . . . 

No more shall the war-cry sever, 
Or the winding rivers be red; 
They banish our anger forever 
When they laurel the graves of our dead ! 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the judgment day; 
Love and tears for the Blue, 
Tears and love for the Gray. 

The abrupt appearance of this poem just two years after the 
war had closed startled a public not yet attuned to its senti- 
ment of mellowed and forgiving sadness. 

Yet the fears remained unrealized. Memorial Day was trans- 
formed into an agency of reconciliation and school children 
throughout the land memorized "The Blue and the Gray/' 
From the start vindictiveness and contention played but a 
minor role in the remembrance ceremonies. The inherent pathos 
of the situation was obvious. Its softening influence was appre- 
ciated by the orators called upon to express the public's tribute 
to the dead. When one such speaker, as early as 1869, stood 
in a Union cemetery which overlooked a plot in which Con- 
federates were buried, he spoke inevitably of the peaceful re- 
pose that had come to the slain soldiers on both sides. As 
they were now united in death, why, he inquired, "cannot we 
who survive catch the inspiration which swells the chorus of 
these who, once estranged, are now forever glorified." T 
Others were ready to dwell upon the similarity of the sacri- 
fice, North and South, that had led to the silent mounds they 
were now decorating. 8 What could these memorials signify 

7 Mayor Pillsbury, Charleston, S. C, Magnolia Cemetery (pamphlet), 6. 

8 A Southern example, Major Thomas G. Jones, Address at Montgomery, 
Alabama, 1874 (pamphlet). A Northern example, J. P. Thompson, Address 
in New York, 1870, reported in the New York Tribune, May 31, 1870. 


except that war had bound together all in a common destiny 
that must be sealed in friendship ? 

While expressions of fraternity might in time have grown 
commonplace, it was a strong desire to escape the partisan 
excesses of Reconstruction that first produced a popular en- 
thusiasm for Memorial Day as a means of reconciliation. In 
1874 and 1875 the public showed an ever-growing interest 
in the new phenomenon of Northern and Southern soldiers 
cordially cooperating in honoring the dead of either side. "Only 
a little while ago," noted the Tribune in 1874, "many people 
of the North regarded it dangerous and criminal" for the 
South to decorate its graves. Now officers and men of the 
United States army stationed in the South were taking part 
in the ceremonies for the Southern dead, while Southern women 
did not refrain from scattering their flowers on Union graves. 9 

In 1875 the editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser felicitated 
himself with the observation that "all now esteem themselves 
Union men." Looking over the country he found that in Cin- 
cinnati the committee on arrangements for Memorial Day 
had sent a formal invitation to an association of officers of the 
Southern army to participate in honoring the dead of both 
sides. The invitation had been accepted, and the speeches 
delivered on the occasion were characterized by a "fraternal 
and charitable spirit that is a satisfaction to contemplate." 
At Sandusky, Ohio, the graves of both Union and Confederate 
soldiers on Johnson's Island were decorated by Union veterans, 
while in Louisville, Secretary B. H. Bristow "delivered an 
address that caused comment for its eloquent tribute to the 
Southern soldiery. In Memphis the Confederate generals, 
Forrest and Pillow, participated in the Union ceremonies. But 
the scene that evokes a passing smile for its conscious effort 
to convince a doubting world occurred in Little Rock, Arkan- 
sas. A holiday having been declared, all places of business were 
closed and a large portion of the population, white and black, 
moved out to the cemetery to witness a joint service com- 
memorating both Confederates and Unionists. The speakers' 
platform had been erected to overlap portions of both the ad- 

9 New York Tribune, April 29, 1874. The editorial is entitled "Peace in the 


joining cemeteries. A Northerner therefore could speak from 
Confederate ground, while a Southerner could stand over soil 
consecrated to the Union veterans. The climax was reached 
when an ex-Confederate buried a hatchet in the Union ceme- 
tery, while a Union veteran did likewise in the Confederate 
cemetery. 10 

In seeking a reason for the "significant fact" that the 
incident of the Memorial Day exercises most commented on by 
the public was the fraternizing of former foes, the Tribune 
found it in the strong desire of the people to be friends again. 
"Politicians may have their own ends to serve in probing the 
still gaping wounds, but the great mass of intelligent Christian 
people in both the South and North are heartily glad of any 
occasion which brings them together ... or gives them a 
chance to show kindly feelings." n Wearied of the partisan 
excesses into which they had been led by the difficulties of 
Reconstruction, not yet knowing the solution, yet conscious 
that the implied hostility and hatred were not of their seeking, 
the people of the mid-seventies found in Memorial Day an 
escape through which they could express their yearning for 
sectional peace. The holiday thus took on a significance it 
, never fully lost. 

The essence of Memorial Day in relation to reconciliation 
was its appeal to sympathy. North and South the sacrifice of 
war had led to a common meeting place, the cemetery, where 
strife and bitterness were hushed in death. On the Confed- 
erate monument in Columbia, South Carolina, an inscription 
may be found which reads, "Let their virtues plead for the 
just judgment of the cause in which they perished." It was the 
silent pleading of the dead that softened the asperities in living 
hearts. A leaven of forgiveness was introduced which in time 
permeated the entire national life. 

In another respect the sections were nearer together than 
surface trends seemed to indicate. This was in regard to am- 

10 Boston Daily Advertiser, June 2, 1875. See also New York . Times, 
May 31, 1875, for Bristow's address, New York Tribune, May 31, 1875, for 
Forrest's remarks. 

il New York Tribune, May 30, 1876. Sample addresses are C. A. Bartol 
in Boston, 1874 (pamphlet), R. A. Pryor in Brooklyn, 1877, and Henry 
Watterson in Nashville, 1877 (New' York Tribune, May 31, 1877). 


nesty. The Confederate was susceptible to a variety of pen- 
alties. In addition to the general liability to a charge of treason 
for taking up arms against the Federal Government, the Con- 
fiscation Act of 1862 annexed penalties of property losses. 
The President, however, was granted power to amnesty of- 
fenders by proclamation and both Lincoln and Johnson liberally 
exercised the pardoning power. Johnson brought an end to 
all liability under this head by granting a full and complete 
pardon to all Confederates for the "crime" of waging war 
against the United States. Henceforth no Southerner was in 
jeopardy in person or in property. Even Davis, as has been 
seen, was released under this proclamation. 

The Fourteenth Amendment, on the other hand, placed the 
former Confederate in a condition of political disability. The 
third section read as follows : 

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, 
or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, 
civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who 
having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as 
an officer of the United States or as a member of any State leg- 
islature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to sup- 
port the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in 
insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or com- 
fort to the enemies thereof. 

Probably less than one hundred thousand Southerners were 
placed under disabilities by this Amendment. 12 Inasmuch as 
Congress was empowered by a vote of two thirds of each 
House to remove disabilities the question of amnesty after 1868 
became a matter for Congressional debate. 

That the bark of the North was worse than its bite was 

12 Any such estimate is at best a guess because of the impossibility of ascer- 
taining how many State offitials had taken an oath supporting the Federal 
Constitution. Curiously enough the only estimate made in Congress was very 
vague. Senator Ferry, Republican, of Connecticut, made an estimate of fifty 
thousand at the lowest to three hundred thousand at the highest. A Washing- 
ton correspondent of the New York Tribune, May 23, 1872, estimated that 
the Amnesty Act of 1872 relieved 150,000 Confederates, leaving from three 
hundred to five hundred still under disability. Rhodes somewhat uncritically 
accepts this figure as a basis for saying that between 150,000 and 160,000 indi- 
viduals were excluded from holding office by the Fourteenth Amendment. 
Rhodes, "History of the United States," VI, 329. 


quickly indicated by the large number of special amnesty bills 
passed by Congress. That the Southern pride was not so 
haughty as represented was suggested by the large number 
of prominent Confederates who petitioned and were gfanted 

The first acts of amnesty were passed during the second 
session of the Fortieth Congress even before the Amendment 
was proclaimed in force on July 28, i868. 13 Thus an act of 
June 25 pardoned a group of more than one thousand indi- 
viduals, an act of July 20, approximately three hundred, and 
an act of July 27, twenty. It is certainly true that the bulk 
of these early petitioners were "scalawags" needed for pur- 
poses of building up the Republican party in the South. Among 
the more important persons who were relieved of their dis- 
abilities by the Fortieth Congress were General James Long- 
street, Joseph C. Brown, of Georgia, J. L. Alcorn, Reconstruc- 
tion Governor of Mississippi, R. F. Bullock, Reconstruction 
Governor of Georgia, W. W. Holden, Reconstruction Gover- 
nor of North Carolina, and F. J. Moses, the later notorious 
Radical of South Carolina. 

The partisan spirit in which the Fortieth Congress acted 
on amnesty seemed to promise little good for sectional peace. 
Time and time again the Republican majority, which was more 
than the two thirds required by the Constitution, insisted that 
the only test was the petitioner's complete accord with the 
Reconstruction program of the Radicals. Even Senator Trum- 
bull agreed to this, saying on February 16, 1869, that "I shall 
not be prepared to vote for any bill that will remove disabilities 
from that class of persons [non-Republicans] within any pe- 
riod that I can contemplate." On the other hand the Demo- 
crats bitterly assailed the selfishness of this attitude, and 
clamored for an act of general amnesty that would qualify 
members of their party as well as those of their opponents. 

The Forty-first Congress, which sat in three sessions during 
the period from March 4, 1869, to March 4, 1871, relieved 
more than three thousand individuals and made distinct prog- 
ress toward achieving a more liberal policy. For the first time 

13 My account of amnesty is based on the debates reported in the Con- 
gressional Globe, Fortieth, Forty-first, and Forty-second Congresses. 


resolutions were introduced seeking general amnesty and re- 
ceived powerful support from prominent Republicans, notably 
Senators Ferry of Connecticut and Seward of Nevada and 
Representative Farnsworth of Illinois. These men pointed to 
the waste of time involved as well as the inability of Congress 
carefully to scrutinize the many bills presented for individual 
amnesty. They also argued that the disqualification from hold- 
ing office was incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment not 
as punishment but as a guarantee of public safety. In this re- 
spect they felt it had gone too far. Public safety did not require 
the exclusion of more than a few leaders. Meanwhile a wider 
disqualification was operating as an irritant which drove the 
South into blind resistance of all Reconstruction measures. It 
was also probably true that opinion in the North was definitely 
in favor of sweeping away the disability except in very few 

A new and unsuspected demand for general amnesty ap- 
peared in this same Congress from Southern Republicans, who 
wanted all disabilities removed in order to deprive their op- 
ponents in the South of what was proving a powerful political 
weapon. The threads of Southern politics in Reconstruction 
years were much too complicated to permit of many easy 
generalizations. But it seems true that the Republican Con- 
gressmen from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and 
North Carolina, during 1869 and 1870 were actively seeking 
a bill of general amnesty and that Southern Republicans were 
the most liberal members of their party on this issue. 

A combination of influences pressure of public opinion, 
increased strength of the Democratic minority as a result of 
the Congressional elections of 1870, the rise of the Liberal 
Republican movement, and a growing feeling among Republi- 
cans that the extensive disqualification of Southerners had 
been a tactical error made possible the passage of a general 
amnesty bill through the House of Representatives during the 
first session of the Forty-second Congress, which sat from 
March 4 to May 27, 1871. Beck, Democrat, of Kentucky, 
on March 9 introduced a bill for the removal of legal and 
political disabilities from all persons affected by the Four- 
teenth Amendment. The impossibility of securing a two thirds 


majority for so liberal a measure, however, influenced him 
to accept an amendment by Poland, Republican, of Vermont, 
which excepted from amnesty member of Congress and Army 
and Navy officers who withdrew from their offices to support 
the Confederacy, and also the men who had voted for ordi- 
nances of secession. The measure was debated on March 14 
with Poland speaking vigorously for its passage. The vote on 
the measure revealed 120 in favor, 82 opposed and 21 not vot- 
ing. Inasmuch as a two thirds majority was wanting the bill 
failed. The Republican division was 32 for, 82 against, and 
1 6 not voting, while the Democrats stood 88 for, none against, 
and 5 not voting. 

Shortly after the defeat of the Beck bill, Hale, Republican, 
of Maine, introduced a second bill of general amnesty, with 
exactly the same exceptions contained as in the Beck bill but 
with an additional requirement that the beneficiary of amnesty 
should take an oath supporting the Constitution of the United 
States. The bill was passed without debate by more than the 
required two thirds majority on April 10, one hundred and 
thirty-four voting in favor while forty-six opposed and forty- 
seven did not vote. The bill was sent to the Senate, however, 
too late for action during the short session. 

When Congress reconvened for a second time in December 
it was met by a message from President Grant urging the 
enactment of a measure providing general amnesty. The 
Senate immediately began discussing the Hale bill. It seemed 
certain that Senators would bow to the now prevailing senti- 
ment for leniency. "We are now in circumstances which ren- 
der it necessary to render relief," confessed one Radical who 
would have preferred to see no bars let down, "a necessity 
forced upon us by the overflowing and superabundant sym- 
pathy of generous conquerors for misguided public enemies." 

The smooth momentum of the bill towards passage, however, 
was utterly destroyed when Charles Sumner endeavored to at- 
tach to amnesty a Supplementary Civil Rights bill which pro- 
vided equal civil (actually social) rights to Negroes in rail- 
road cars, theaters, inns, cemeteries and churches. Staunch 
Republicans like Conkling and Edmunds, who had never been 
in sympathy with amnesty, came to the support of Sumner's 


measure, realizing that if the Civil Rights bill were tacked 
to the Hale bill Democrats would never accept it and it would 
therefore be defeated. As Trumbull who favored the Hale bill 
said, every person in heart opposed to amnesty voted for the 
Sumner amendment while friends of amnesty voted against it. 
The vote on the amendment was an even division with Vice- 
President Col fax casting the decisive vote in its favor. The 
vote on the combined amnesty-civil-rights bill was thirty-three 
in favor, nineteen opposed two less than the required two 
thirds majority. 

A storm of protest met the Senate's action. The Hale bill 
was passed again by the House and sent to the Senate for 
consideration. Once more Sumner, this time supported by 
Sherman, succeeded in tacking on his amendment and again the 
combined measure failed. 

The Grant party leaders, unwilling to face the coming Presi- 
dential campaign without an amnesty bill enacted, now took 
command of the situation. Benjamin Butler, determined to take 
the amnesty issue out of politics, presented a final bill in the 
House where it passed easily on May 13, 1872, "the best and 
most liberal bill on this subject that has ever been passed by 
this House/' The Senate this time rejected Sumner's plea, and 
passed on May 22 the Butler bill without amendment by a vote 
of thirty-eight in favor to two opposed. 

The General Amnesty Act of 1872 reduced the number of 
Southerners disqualified from holding office to less than five 
hundred men and probably the number was not far in excess 
of two hundred and fifty. 14 Almost immediately special acts 
began to be passed removing disabilities from individuals still 
excluded. Zebulon B. Vance, for example, was granted amnesty 

14 Fifteen former Senators were excluded, among them being, Davis, Clay 
of Alabama, Mallory, Toombs, Benjamin, and Hunter of Virginia. Twenty- 
five former Representatives were excluded, among them, Curry, Lamar, 
Vance, Reagan, Pryor. One Supreme Court Justice remained excluded, 
John A. Campbell. Among prominent military officers still excluded were 
Generals J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Pemberton, Hood, D. H. Hill, 
Ewell, Early, Fitzhugh Lee, and Hardee. Among former Confederates who 
after 1872 were to occupy important Federal offices whose disabilities were 
removed by the Act of 1872 were A. H. Stephens, Wade Hampton, B. H. Hill, 
and A. H. Garland. Prominent among those whose disabilities were removed 
by special act after 1872 were Lamar, Curry, Vance and Reagan. See New 
York Tribune, May 23, 1872. 


by this same Congress by act of June 10, 1872. Within the 
next eight years Congress removed disqualifications from 
more than one hundred Southerners excluded by the Act of 
1872. It became a truism that any man the South elected to 
office could, if he needed it, receive amnesty from Congress, 
Jefferson Davis alone excepted. 

Thus pressure of public sentiment won an important con- 
cession and one hurt of Reconstruction was early remedied. 
But in a more positive manner amnesty also proved wise 
statesmanship. It permitted the return to national life of the 
respected and natural leaders of the South. Excluded from 
office their careers were narrow, crabbed and unreconciled. 
Brought back to participate in national affairs a broader and 
more constructive view of politics and Southern future became 
characteristic of their attitude. 

The first fruits of amnesty in this sense appeared in the 
career of L. Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi. During the early 
years of Reconstruction the proscribed Lamar was bitterly 
unreconciled, clinging to prejudice, and passionately resistant 
to Northern influences. 15 But in November 1872, although 
still excluded by the Act of 1872, he was elected to Congress 
as a Democrat. Immediately new horizons opened. Lamar J s 
ambition was quickened. Without hesitation he asked the Re- 
publicans of Mississippi to favor a bill before Congress grant- 
ing him relief from disabilities. "You may be assured of one 
thing," he wrote, "I am a patriot that is, my heart beats 
with more fidelity to the interest and happiness of the Ameri- 
can people, and to the principles of public and individual free- 
dom, than it does to my own tranquillity." ie The change in 
Lamar was not hypocrisy, but the difference between enforced 
banishment and the privilege of participating in a world he 

But another barrier still remained. In Washington Lamar 
found distrust of Southerners a hampering influence. "Is this 
not an appalling spectacle?" he wrote privately to a friend. "On 

16 C/. Lamar's speech before the Agricultural Association of Carroll and 
Choctaw Counties, Mississippi, 1870, and his Letter on the death of Lee, 1870, 
both quoted in Mayes, "Lamar," 129-131, 658. An excellent recent biography 
of Lamar is W. A. Cate's "Lucius Q. C. Lamar" (Chapel Hill, 1935). 

16 Mayes, "Lamar/* 175. 


the one hand a brave, impulsive, but too sensitive people full 
of potent life and patriotic fire, ready aye, eager to abide 
with knightly honor the award of the bloody arbitrament to 
which they appealed ; and yet, as if dumb, unable to speak in- 
telligibly their thought and purpose. On the other hand a great 
and powerful section, . . . flushed with victory and success, 
but full of generous and maganimous feeling toward their 
vanquished brethren; and they too, as if under some malign 
spell, speaking only words of bitterness, hate, and threatenings. 
He indeed would be a patriot and benefactor who could awake 
them from their profound egotism and say with effectual com- 
mand: 'My countrymen, know one another. 3 For then nature 
herself with her mighty voice would exclaim: 'Love one an- 
other.' " 17 To play this role of patriot benefactor became 
so strong a desire in Lamar's ambition as almost to be an ob- 

For months Lamar labored with the idea of making a great 
speech that would bring the estranged North and South to- 
gether. Quietly he perfected the phraseology, seeking espe- 
cially words that would not cause offense. Reflection, for ex- 
ample, suggested that the description of the North "as if under 
some malign spell, speaking only words of bitterness, hate, and 
threatenings," might arouse the ire of those he sought to 
pacify. So out it went and in its place was substituted, "as if 
mastered by some mysterious spell, silencing her better im- 
pulses, her words and acts are the words and acts of suspicion 
and distrust." Word for word, idea by idea, the project was 
carefully deliberated. So perfect was the preparation that when 
the opportunity for the great gesture came it had the final mark 
of supreme artistry. It seemed the spontaneous outpouring of 
a generous heart. 

Such a speech required a dramatic setting. The opportunity 
for which Lamar was patiently preparing came in March 1874 
when Sumner died and the Senate invited the Mississippian 
to deliver a memorial address in honor of the Massachusetts 
statesman. The eulogy which Lamar delivered had all the es- 
sentials of a great oration. If words could reconcile, it would 
have made the sections one. Praise for Sumner, the great 

17 Ibid., 182. The letter was written July 15, 1872. 


protagonist of the Union and of Negro equality, and emphasis 
on the nobility of his efforts, were joined with a picture of the 
South, noble also in its aspirations, defeated and knowing suf- 
fering, yet loyal to the restored Union. 

I see on both sides only the seeming of a constraint, which each 
apparently hestitates to dismiss. The South prostrated, ex- 
hausted, drained of her lifeblood, as well as of her material re- 
sources, yet still honorable and true accepts the bitter award 
of the bloody arbitrament without reservation, resolutely deter- 
mined to abide the result with chivalrous fidelity; yet as if struck 
dumb by the magnitude of her reverses, she suffers on in silence. 
The North, exultant in her triumph, and elated by success, still 
cherishes, as we are assured, a heart full of magnanimous emo- 
tions for her disarmed and discomfited antagonist; and yet, as 
if mastered by some mysterious spell, silencing her better im- 
pulses, her words and acts are the words and acts of suspicion 
and distrust. 

Would that the spirit of the illustrious dead whom we lament 
today could speak from the grave to both parties to this deplor- 
able discord in tones which should reach each and every heart 
throughout this broad territory: "My countrymen! know one 
another, and you will love one another." 18 

There is no gainsaying the personal triumph Lamar achieved, 
with Elaine weeping in the Speaker's chair, and "bloody shirt" 
newspapers throughout the North raising a chorus of praise. 
But Lamar did not, as his biographer seemed inclined to be- 
lieve, close the chasm between the sections. The real significance 
of the eulogy was that it gave Lamar national status as a 
reconciler. For the remainder of his life he devoted his chief 
energies to the removal of misunderstanding between North 
and South. 19 

If this was true of Lamar it was also true of the great num- 
ber of former Confederates whom a liberal policy of amnesty 
made possible to return to Congress. Republicans attempted to 
make political capital of the "Confederate Brigadiers" in poli- 
tics. But a careful examination of their conduct in Congress 

18 Mayes, "Lamar," 186. 

19 For typical speeches see ibid., 218-223, 294-297, 673, 686. 


and of their addresses before the public invariably reveals this 
group to be one of the most reconciled elements in the country. 20 

But it is doubtful whether any man in public life could in- 
spire confidence enough in the unselfishness of his objectives 
to make headway in the removal of distrust between the sec- 
tions. Misunderstanding rested upon deep and basic convic- 
tions. In some way it was these which had to be reached and 
changed. It is important, therefore, to note that one of the 
most constructive forces making for peace in this period was 
the beginning of better reporting of the South. 

Newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses poured out a 
steady flood of articles and books descriptive of all phases of 
Southern life and problems. Most notable of the reports made 
in the i87O J s were Robert Somers' "The Southern States 
Since the War/' published in 1871, Edward King's "The 
Southern States/' published serially in Scribner's Monthly 
Magazine duririg 1873 an d 1874 and In book form in 1875, 
J. S. Pike's "The Prostrate South," published in 1874, and 
Charles NordhofFs "The Cotton States in the Spring and 
Summer of 1875," published first as a series of letters in the 
New York Herald during 1875 and then in book form in 1876. 

Somers' book lost some influence in the North because it 
was known that he was an Englishman who sympathized with 
the South during the war. Yet the "Southern States Since the 
War" was impartial and intelligent in tone and was based upon 
diligent and accurate observation. Somers' attitude was marked 
by modesty and restraint both in criticism and in praise. He 
pointed out the ignorance of the blacks, their need for educa- 
tion, and their incapacity for participation in government. But 
while he never hesitated to place stricture on carpetbag politics 
his chief message was optimism concerning what he pictured 
as the bright economic future of the South. 

More elaborate was the "Great South Series" prepared by 

20 Notably true of B. H. Hill, A. H. Garland, W. Hampton, H, A. Herbert, 
J. H. Reagan, A. H. Stephens, Z. B. Vance, G. C Vest, E. Walthall, and 
J. Wheeler. In the Congress of 1876, nine senators and forty-three repre- 
sentatives had seen service in the Confederate armies. The late seventies and 
early eighties witnessed the greatest number of "Confederate Brigadiers" 
in Congress. Typical delegations of this period were Alabama's eight Con- 
federate veterans in eight Congressional seats in 1878, Georgia's seven in 
eight in 1878, and Arkansas' five in five in 1883. 


Edward King for Scribner's Monthly Magazine. Scribner's, 
under the editorship of Dr. J. G. Holland, was the most ener- 
getic of the monthly periodicals of the seventies. King, who 
had served under Bowles on the Springfield Republican and 
had "covered" the Franco-Prussian war and the Commune 
disorders in Paris as a war correspondent, was one of the ablest 
of the younger American journalists. Accompanied by an illus- 
trator, J. Wells Champney of the Scribner's staff, King spent 
all of 1873 anc * most of 1874 on an extensive tour of the South. 
The result was a series of profusely illustrated articles which 
filled an average of forty pages of each issue of Scribner's for 
two years. The book published from these articles was a vol- 
ume of eight hundred large pages. 

The preparation of this series was an enterprise of unprec- 
edented size by an American periodical. King and Champney 
were instructed by Holland to "exhibit, by pen and pencil, a 
vast region almost as little known to the Northern States of 
the Union as it is to England." And they were to make their 
observations "sympathetically" so that the reader would be in- 
formed of the social, economic, and geographic features of the 

The central theme of King's reporting was that if the South 
were treated fairly by the North prosperity would speedily re- 
turn to a region of vast material resources. "Of course I en- 
countered many bitter people," he wrote, "but these were cer- 
tainly the exceptions. The citizens [of the South], ... as a 
class are as loyal to the idea of the Union today as are the 
citizens of New York." Chapter by chapter the series piled 
up an overwhelming mass of evidence pointing to the evil re- 
sults of Reconstruction. King also had his eyes open to the 
economic possibilities of the South, discussing such oppor- 
tunities as the marl deposits of South Carolina, the iron de- 
posits of Alabama, and the development of Southern health 
resorts. Once the "dreary transition period" was over he pre- 
dicted the area would enjoy great opulence. Adding greatly to 
the popular effectiveness of the work were the more than four 
hundred sketches of Southern character and scenery drawn 
by Champney. Commenting editorially upon the conclusion 
of the "Great South Series," Holland justly took "no ordinary 


pride and satisfaction" in the completion "of a task under- 
taken with the desire to enlighten our country concerning it- 
self, and to spread before the nation the wonderful natural 
resources, the social condition, and the political complications 
of a region which needs but just, wise and generous legisla- 
tion, with responding good-will and industry, to make it a 
garden of happiness and prosperity." 

J. S. Pike during the fifties had been the very capable 
Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune, and 
from 1 86 1 to 1866 he had served the United States as min- 
ister resident at The Hague. His background was Repub- 
lican and abolitionist. During the months of February and 
March he visited South Carolina and observed the State leg- 
islature in session. From this experience he wrote an effective 
little book conveying his first hand impressions to the public. 
"The Prostrate State: South Carolina under Negro Govern- 
ment/ 3 caught a vivid picture of radical Reconstruction at the 
moment and in the place of its grotesque flood tide of cor- 
ruption. The book in no sense developed a theory of Recon- 
struction or gave a balanced view. But it did present a selection 
of facts freshly witnessed so colorfully as to fix permanently 
its picture as the one most remembered of all that have emerged 
from Reconstruction literature. The "Africanization of South 
Carolina" as the acme of misgovernment, corruption, and in- 
justice became a tradition, carrying with it the conclusion 
Pike suggested, "1$ it not time to bring to an end the pun- 
ishment of the innocent many for the crimes of the guilty 

While King reached best the popular level, and Pike played 
most effectively with the emotions, Charles Nordhoff gave the 
ablest analysis of Southern conditions. One of the most schol- 
arly newspaper men the United States has known, Nordhoff 
during the war years had been the managing editor of the 
New York Evening Post, a strong Unionist, and an advocate 
of Negro betterment. From 1874 to 1890 he served, with free- 
dom to develop his own projects, as Washington editor of 
the New York Herald. During the 1870*5 he performed two 
notable assignments of high journalistic merit. His "Commu- 
nistic Societies in the United States" was published in 1875, 


and in 1876 appeared 'The Cotton States in the Spring and 
Summer of 1875." 

Nordhoff wrote without passion or excitement. He probed 
beneath the frothy surface of Reconstruction into a calmer 
analysis of the deeper and truer currents of Southern life. His 
"forty-two conclusions" were a complete negation of the 
"bloody shirt" attack. He forecast an optimistic social and 
economic future for the South. 

These four studies of the South were the most influential 
of the period. They commanded the widest reading public and 
they were treated with greatest respect by reviewers. There 
was in none of their pages the expression of any sentiment 
which did not tend to soften the Northern attitude toward the 
South and thus make for better understanding. What was true 
of them was generally true of the great mass of material which 
found its way into print. Harper's, Lippincott's, Appletons' , 
and the Atlantic vied with Scribner's in reporting Southern 
scenes. 21 The net result of this activity was to convey a new 
impression of the South to the North. In general it was main- 
tained that Southerners were amicably disposed to the Union 
and that sectional bitterness was declining rather than increas- 
ing. A note of pathos, some pity, and understanding of what 
burden the white South was carrying, also entered for the 
first time in the Northern outlook. And finally the emphasis 
upon the economic potentialities of the South was offered as 
an indication of the way in which the two sections might be 
brought together. 

When one looks back to the journalism of 1865 and 1866 
it can be appreciated that something of a revolution had been 
accomplished in this reporting of the South. The earlier re- 
porters had considered it "news" to describe a South that was 
disgruntled, rebellious, and unregenerate. The Negro had been 
the hero and the Southern white the villain. But while Repub- 
lican orators still played upon these themes, the editors of 
newspapers and magazines apparently sensed among Northern 
readers a demand for narratives which sympathetically por- 

21 Most significant of the articles on the South prepared for these mag- 
azines were those written by Sidney Lanier, George Fitzhugh, E. A. Pollard, 
J. W. De Forest, E. De Leon, C. D. Deshler, G. C Eggleston, T. W. Higgin- 
son, and N. S. Shaler. 


trayed the Southern white society in its efforts to achieve a 
richer participation in the national life. 

The emotional yearning for peace reached a climax in the 
series of centennial celebrations recalling the progress of the 
Revolution which began in 1875 an ^ continued until 1881. 
The major event in the cycle was the great exposition held in 
Philadelphia during the summer of 1876 to commemorate the 
centenary of independence. But even closer to the life of the 
ordinary citizen and remarkable for the sustained interest 
shown in them were the innumerable observances of lesser cen- 

The observances were intended to be more than fitting 
memorials of the nation's birth. They were to harmonize a 
country estranged by Civil War. "Let us see to it, North and 
South/' asserted an editor of Scribner's, "that the Centen- 
nial heals all the old wounds, reconciles all the old differences, 
and furnishes the occasion for such a reunion of the great 
American nationality as shall make our celebration an expres- 
sion of fraternal good will among all sections and all states." ^ 
The New York Tribune undertook to warn "all fools, bigots, 
and scheming politicians" that there would be no room for 
sectional hate and bitterness while both sections were com- 
memorating their common origin. 23 Many hoped that a na- 
tional sentiment would be aroused in the South. Others sug- 
gested that the North too had concessions to make before the 
desired results could be attained. It was generally expected 
that the decade of historical reminiscence upon which the United 
States was about to venture would intensify the national spirit 
and create a consciousness of sectional interdependence and 
community of interest. 

A handsome gesture on the part of Charleston, South 
Carolina, Confederate veterans before the Lexington celebra- 
tion struck a note of good feeling at the start. In the assault 
on Fort Wagner the Fifty- fourth Massachusetts regiment of 
Negro soldiers led by Robert Gould Shaw had lost its battle 
flag. The South had bitterly resented the use of Negro troops, 

Monthly, XX (1875), 5*0. See also Harper's Weekly, 
July 3, 1875 ," and Nation, June 3, 1875. 

23 New York Tribune, Jan. i, July 3, 1876. 


while Massachusetts had placed Shaw, killed in combat, high 
on its list of heroes. Consequently when the Charlestonians 
now voluntarily returned the lost flag the deed was warmly 
applauded in Boston. "I deem it decorous/' wrote the Southern 
officer who tendered the trophy, "if not a positive duty, to 
promote the oblivion of the animosities which led to and were 
engendered by the war." 24 

The note of reconciliation dominated the observances at Lex- 
ington and Concord in the spring of 1875. Governor Cham- 
berlain of South Carolina appeared to remind the people of 
Massachusetts of the friendship and cooperation that existed 
between the two States during the Revolutionary period. The 
Governor of Massachusetts in reply assured all that the hearts 
of the two States beat again in unison. Skeptics, however, 
might entertain doubt as to the sincerity of these assertions, 
since one came from a carpetbagger unloved in the South and 
the other from a Democrat. But when the toast, "The North 
and the South/' was offered a soldier responded against whom 
no charge of insincerity could be made. General Francis Bart- 
lett, the youthful possessor of an heroic record in the Union 
army, assailed the "selfish and excessive partisanship" which 
divided the country and for which all who had fought in the 
war had unmixed contempt. "As an American/' he continued, 
"I am as proud of the men who charged so bravely with Pickett's 
division on our lines at Gettysburg, as I am of the men who so 
bravely met and repulsed them there." He concluded by sug- 
gesting to the sons of men who fought for conscience against 
their government in 1775 that they should be the first to for- 
give men who also fought for conscience in 1863. The bold 
novelty of these opinions just ten years after the Civil War 
had ended found a ready response in the sentiment of the 
moment and made Bartlett the outstanding figure of the cele- 

Two months later Boston observed the anniversary of Bun- 
ker Hill with excitement keyed to an even greater pitch. The 

24 Boston Daily Advertiser, April 5, 1875. My account of the celebrations 
at Boston, Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill is based upon the Advertiser, 
April 5, 20, June 17, 18, 1875; Nation, June 24, 1875; Harper's Weekly, 
June 12 ,1875; and F. W. Palfrey, "Memoir of William Francis Bartlett" 
(Boston, 1878), 260. 


focus of attention was the presence of military companies, 
composed largely of former Confederates, from Virginia and 
South Carolina. On the evening before the celebration a "peace 
and good will" meeting was held in which courtesies were 
cordially exchanged between representatives of North and 
South. All spoke of a common country and a common heritage. 
The redoubtable Fitzhugh Lee was presented "amid the wild- 
est enthusiasm. A perfect babel of applause rose from the vast 
audience. The men threw their hats into the air and yelled 
themselves hoarse, while the ladies in the galleries waved their 
handkerchiefs and clapped their hands in patriotic fervor and 
sisterly affection/' 

The next morning the Confederates joined the procession of 
fifty thousand marching men that paraded through the streets 
of Boston to Charlestown and the Bunker Hill monument. It 
was soberly reported that an eminent physician who once had 
refused the sale of his respirators in the South, unwilling to 
stop the progress of tubercles in pro-slavery lungs, now, un- 
der stress of excitement, eagerly came forward to shake the 
hands of erstwhile rebels. When the Southerners paid a visit 
to Harvard University, President Eliot reminded them of the 
many names from their section honorably engraved upon the 
college records. Prompt was the answer he received : Might the 
college "hereafter promote, as in the past, not the greatness 
only, but the unity of the nation." 

The reader may draw his own inferences as to the significance 
of remarks thus made under the contagious influence of mass 
excitement. It may, however, be noted that Charles Eliot Nor- 
ton, not unduly affected by passing fancy, observed privately 
that in his opinion the peace making was genuine, the actors 
sincere, and the effect throughout the country instant and 
great. 25 Beneath the hyperbole of stimulated imagination the 
desire to reconcile showed deep and strong. "Mere politicians/' 
as Norton was quick to observe, might be surprised at the 
strange behavior of their constituents. It seemed to others that 
the prophecy of Lincoln "The mystic chords of memory, 
stretching from every battlefield and patriotic grave to every 

25 S. Norton and M. A. DeW. Howe (eds.), "Letters of Charles EHot 
Norton" (Boston, 1913), II, 55. 


living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet 
swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely 
they will be, by the better angels of our nature" was com- 
ing true. 

It was shortly thereafter that James Russell Lowell, who had 
fought so long and so sturdily from the days of Hosea Biglow 
through the Civil War and postwar decade, made public his 
conversion to the gospel of peace and forgiveness. On July 3 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, observed the event of Washington's 
taking command of the Continental army. Lowell was chosen to 
write the ode commemorating the event. With a consciousness 
of purpose almost naive, he "took advantage of the occasion to 
hold out a hand of kindly reconciliation to Virginia/' Closing 
his mind to the strife of his own times, he returned to the 
"Age of the Fathers/' and the common hero Washington. 
The burden of the poem is revealed in its concluding lines. 

Virginia gave us this imperial man, 

What shall we give her back, but love and praise 

As in the dear old unestranged days 

Before the inevitable wrong began? 

Mother of States and undiminished men, 

Thou gavest us a country, giving him, 

And we owe alway what we owed thee then. 

Across more recent graves, 

We from this consecrated plain stretch out 

Our hands. . , . 

Through battle we have better learned thy worth, 

The long-breathed valor and undaunted will, 

Which, like his owp, the day's disaster done, 

Could, safe in manhood, suffer and be still. 

Both thine and ours the victory hardly won; 

If ever with distempered voice or pen 

We have misdeemed thee, here we take it back. 

Be to us evermore as thou wast then. 

While the people of the North were thus participating 
enthusiastically the situation in the South was somewhat dif- 


ferent In the year of the centennial John C. Reed, a Georgian, 
published a pamphlet which aptly portrayed the Southern at- 
titude toward the nation's birthday. He contrasted the 'Vast 
and happy population" of the North, her "great material pros- 
perity and the fresh fame of a world renowned success/' with 
the South suffering the "pangs of a sudden impoverishment 
and the incalculable discomfort of complete economic un- 
settlement." It was proper, he observed, for the North to exult, 
but the South should not be expected to rejoice greatly over 
a nation preserved at the cost of her recent defeat. Preoccupied 
with the work of "doing painfully the slow task of repairing 
lost fortunes ; . . . striving to make homes pleasant again 
and to give . . . children a fair hope in the land/' the South 
had little energy or interest in celebration. And yet "these in- 
tent workers, who are most of them scarred Confederate vet- 
erans even if they will not say it loudly have come to hold 
in steadfast faith that it is far better the Blue Cross fell, and the 
American Union stands forever unchallengeable hereafter/' 26 
Much as it was hoped that the nation might be brought to- 
gether at Philadelphia "to meet and embrace as brothers/' 27 
not many Southerners attended the Centennial Exhibition dur- 
ing the summer of 1876, and the industry of that section was 
meagerly represented. Impoverishment and preoccupation 
with the lingering evils of Reconstruction might suffice to ex- 
plain the absence of Southerners. But more fundamental was 
the nonexistence in the South of the spirit which gave to the 
international exposition its significance in the North. During 
and after the war the North had been making tremendous 
strides along the road of economic revolution. The war itself 
had been an indication of her greatly increased power; the 
exposition was to be an appreciation of the fact. Northerners 
might take pride in the hundred years' development from feeble 
colonies to a powerful nation that was still moving on to an 
even greater future. But Southern social and economic life was 
not yet integrated to that development, and the South could 
share none of the optimism it created. Rather it seemed to her 
that the North in fact was becoming the nation, and she an ap- 
panage. The centennial came in due season for the North to 

26 John C. Reed, "The Old South and the New" (New York, 1876). 

27 Scribner>s Monthly, XI (1876), 433. 


rejoice, but for the South it was still premature. Yet wistfully 
the South looked on, and when Sidney Lanier, one of her dear- 
est sons, was chosen to write the Cantata sung on that glorious 
Fourth of July celebration of 1876 her heart responded to his 
earnest faith in a beneficent American nationality. 28 

But it was something that the spirit of the centennial was 
one of reconciliation and pride in a common Americanism. 
The orators who throughout the summer mounted the exposi- 
tion's platform reiterated the sentiment, while newspapers and 
periodicals conveyed the message to their readers. When winter 
came the Exhibition closed its gates, but celebrations of more 
local events continued and the theme was repeated with infinite 
variations. 29 In October 1881 the end appeared in sight as North 
and South again united to commemorate the surrender of 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. A representative of the former sec- 
tion, Robert C. Winthrop, was chosen to deliver the oration, 
while Virginia's unofficial laureate, James Barren Hope, wrote 
the ode. The address developed the familiar pattern. Winthrop 
yearned for the restoration of the old relations of amity and 
good will which were supposed to have existed in the days 
of the fathers. He eulogized Washington, and he prayed that 
the present occasion would aid in the work of reconciliation. 
So too the former Confederate, Hope, pleaded in typical recon- 
ciliation verse : 

Give us back the ties of Yorktown! 

Perish all the modern hates ! 
Let us stand together, brothers, 

In defiance of the Fates; 
For the safety of the Union 

Is the safety of the States! 30 

The centennial celebrations were not significant for what 
they accomplished so much as for what they illustrated. The 
yearning for peace broke out in open emotion in which North 

28 'Tetters of Sidney Lanier" (New York, 1899), II, 28-29 
29 The ceremonies at Philadelphia are fully described in U. S. Centennial 
Commission, International Exhibition of 1876, Reports (Washington, 1880- 
1884). For a typical address at one of the lesser centennials see Curtis, Ora- 

WW 30R 'c Winthrop, "Addresses and Speeches, 1878-1886" (Boston, 1886), 
297-348; J. B. Hope, "Arms and the Man," in "Poems of James Barren Hope" 
(Richmond, 1895), 


and South expressed their attachment to the Union and medi- 
tated on its value. Once expressed the phenomenon assumed 
greater strength. Consequently the long cycle of observances 
with its repetition of a simple truth left stronger in the end 
the force which first had called it into being. Nor would the 
old reports of sectional hostility ever again sound quite so 
plausible to men who had relished a feast of love where words, 
at least, of peace had gone the rounds. 

The nightmare of Reconstruction was still fresh in mind, 
its legacy of discord lingered, when tragedy again revealed 
this bond of sympathy underlying the hostility of the divided 
sections. During the summer months of 1878 yellow fever 
obtained a foothold in the lower Mississippi Valley and devel- 
oped into an epidemic of unprecedented malignity and dura- 
tion. The fever raged with especial virulence in New Orleans 
and Memphis. Cities along the Gulf from Mobile to Galves- 
ton were placed under quarantine. Steamship transportation 
on the Mississippi was paralyzed and the operation of rail- 
roads entering New Orleans discontinued. A state of panic 
prevailed which together with the bereavement of widespread 
death and the impoverishment resulting from disrupted in- 
dustry made the epidemic one of the major misfortunes of 
the decade. 

Thus an opportunity appeared for the American people to 
apply in peacetime the lesson they had learned during the 
Civil War in regard to organized relief work on a large scale. 
No sooner had the appeal for aid been issued than commu- 
nities throughout the North responded. Editors and clergymen 
urged the necessity of liberal contributions. Organizations for 
the collection, distribution, and administration of materials 
were formed. Nurses and physicians were marshaled. Such 
activity is the normal accompaniment of disaster nowadays. 
In 1878 it was a revelation of humanitarian energy. And it 
came from a people who had recently been at war with those 

So prompt and sincere a demonstration of sympathy on 
the part of the North went far in convincing the South that 
something else than sectional antipathy thrived in the land of 
"Black Republicanism." Jefferson Davis wrote privately from 


his retirement in Mississippi, close to the center of the fever 
district, that the "noble generosity of the Northern people in 
this day of our extreme affliction has been felt with deep grati- 
tude and has done more for the fraternization of which many 
idly prate than would many volumes of rhetorical assurance/' 31 
He expressed well the general sentiment of hisj)eople. The 
Southern members of the Board of Trustees of the Peabody 
Education Fund presented a paper at the annual meeting of 
that body in October 1878 testifying to the better understand- 
ing promoted in the South by this object lesson of Northern 
kindness. More sentimental and perhaps for that reason more 
representative of the common run of people was the "yd- 
low fever verse" which was published in startling quantities. 
Virtually every Southern poet of prominence, as well as most 
of the local laureates who sent their verse to the newspapers, 
wrote of the sections at last united and truly reconciled by the 
generosity of deed and attitude of the North. 82 

Sorrow again a few years later revealed a national heart 
throbbing in the South as well as in the North. On the second 
of July 1 88 1 President Garfield was shot by an assassin. A 
long painful struggle with death resulted as the poison of the 
bullet slowly wore down the resistance of a strong physique. 
For eleven weeks the country stood watch over the bed of the 
sufferer, noting every fluctuation in his condition. Newspapers 
printed daily reports which frequently occupied an entire sheet. 
When the contest drew to a close on the night of September 
19-20 the death was attended by a grief as universal as any 
that had ever attended an American. 

It was a united people that mourned. The poet Whittier was 
one of many who noted that "the solemn tragedy . . . was 
drawing with cords of sympathy all sections and all parties 
nearer to each other." 33 The penetrating observer who edited 
the Nation believed that the common grief had been conducive 
to a better understanding, North and South, inasmuch as it 

31 Rowland, "Davis," VIII, 283. 

32 Among such poems are Paul Hamilton Haynes' "The Stricken South 
to the North," Father Ryan's "Reunited," and Maria Louise Eve's "Con- 
quered at Last/' 

33 Letter to W. H. B. Currier, Sept 24, 1881, "Prose Works of John 
Greenleaf Whittier" (Boston, 1889), II, 284-285. 


had "disclosed to view a genuine patriotism where only evil 
had been looked for/' 34 Nowhere than in the South were mani- 
festations of sorrow more sincere and unreserved. 35 

The proceedings of the city council and the citizens of 
Charleston, South Carolina, were representative of the South- 
ern attitude. In the years before the war it had been usual for 
the people of Charleston to give communal expression to their 
sentiment on occasions which were common to the nation. 
Now that the tragedy of Garfield's death had "had the effect 
of reuniting the distant sections of our common country in a 
common grief/' the city assembled for the first time in the 
postwar period "as in olden time, to join our sister cities of 
the Union in the expression of our sympathies at a calamity 
common to the whole country/' The nature of the resolutions 
and speeches is sufficiently indicated by nothing the recurrence 
of such phrases as "common nation," "common grief/' "our 
Union/' "Americans," and "President of the whole People." 
The South was realizing its share in the emotional life of the 
nation. 36 

What more do these disconnected episodes reveal than that 
the popular inclination was to forgive, to stress the things that 
made for peace, and to forget the unpleasant features of the 
past? The yearning for peace could not in itself, however, effect 
release from the hostility that divided North and South. A 
void existed, and no one was more conscious of it than the 
peacemakers. We have seen Lamar carefully choosing his 
words, Lowell avoiding "more recent graves," and Hope 
pleading for the earlier "ties of Yorktown." They were reach- 
ing "hands across the chasm." The very act was a fatal admis- 
sion that reunion was not a fact but a pious wish. "Let us 
have peace" was primarily an emotion impossible of realization 
in this period because it rested upon uncertain foundations. 
There was not enough in common in the social and economic 
structures of the sections to permit a true integration of in- 
terests and attitudes. Yet premature and self-conscious as was 

34 Nation, Sept. i, 1881. 

85 Charleston News and Courier, Atlanta Constitution, July 3-Sept. 20, 

36 Proceedings of the City Council and the Citizens of Charleston, South 
Carolina, upon the Death of President Garfield (pamphlet). 


the early quest for peace, it had its significance in results 
achieved. Much of the old suspicion and recrimination was 
removed or discredited. More important, sentiment North and 
South had turned definitely toward reconciliation. It could be 
said at last that popular predilection favored the closing of the 
chasm. Whether the hope would be fulfilled depended largely 
upon forces beyond the power of individuals to direct. 



IN most respects the South that had sought independence had 
been attuned to ideals that sharply diverged from Northern as- 
pirations. The agriculture of great estates, staple export crops, 
and enslaved labor had developed antagonisms with both the 
homestead farming of the Northwest and the business enter- 
prise of the Northeast. Planters had waged war on one front 
against free homesteads of the new agricultural domain of the 
Mississippi Valley, while on another they contested with bit- 
terness and suspicion the demands of industrialists for pro- 
tective tariffs, centralized banking institutions, and subsidies 
for commerce. Moreover, the predilections of an aristocratic 
society for stability had not harmonized with Northern in- 
ventiveness and social experimentation. In the prewar South 
a favored oligarchy rested upon a basis of Negro slaves and 
an acquiescent and unprosperous white farming class. In the 
North politics had been democratized, humanitarian reform 
had improved the condition of the unfortunate, and systems 
of free and tax-supported education had been established. The 
life of the Southern gentleman, whose occupations centered in 
planting, politics, and the army, had stood in sharp contrast 
to that of leaders of Northern society, who had plunged into 
the money-making activities of trade and industry. The South 
had clung to an older trilogy of agriculture, aristocracy, and 
decentralization. The North had placed its future in a rapid 
and revolutionary progress toward machine industry, democ- 
racy, and a centralized nation. Basically the War for Southern 
Independence was the armed phase of an "irrepressible con- 


flict" between these divergent objectives. More than any other 
factor they had constituted the most potent influence in wid- 
ening the chasm between North and South. 

The destruction of slavery, the humbling of the planting 
aristocracy, and the unimpeded sweep permitted Northern en- 
terprise as a consequence of the war seemed to presage the 
removal of the major cause which had made for separateness. 
Many expressed the belief that the centrifugal force had been 
, destroyed and now the centripetal force would operate unim- 
peded to unify the nation. It was obvious that the South faced 
an economic and social, as well as a political, reformation as 
a consequence of its defeat. A possible outcome might well 
be a greater approximation of Southern conditions to the 
Northern pattern. 

The revolution was not slow in materializing. Emancipa- 
tion of the Negro removed the cornerstone of ante-bellum 
Southern society. This in itself had far-reaching consequences. 
The small, rich landowning aristocracy in whose interest so 
much of Southern energy had been expended was deprived 
of its privileged position. Southern opinion was emancipated 
from the warping necessity of defending a peculiar institution 
from the attacks of Northern and European criticism, a neces- 
sity which before 1860 had led Southerners into a general 
contempt and suspicion of all things labeled free. But most 
significant, an economy of free labor proved incompatible with 
the maintenance of great estates. Almost immediately the plan- 
tation disintegrated into a system of small holdings. Farms 
scattered over the countryside took the place of the older cen- 
tralization in plantation quarters. The individual working his 
tract and directing his own activity replaced the slave system 
of labor in gangs directed by overseers. "The quiet rise of the 
small farmer" became, as Sidney Lanier observed, "the notable 
circumstance of the period, in comparison with which noisier 
events signify nothing/' x 

In spite of the low price of land and the small acreage in 
which it could be acquired, few Negroes or white farmers were 
financially capable of purchasing farms and becoming actual 

1 Lanier, "The New South," ScribneSs, XX (1880), 841. See also Henry 
Grady, "Cotton and its Kingdom," Harper's, LXIII (1881), 719-734. 


owners. The split-up of the plantation did not result in a land- 
owning, independent and sturdy yeomanry. A system of ten- 
ancy, in which the laborer worked assigned tracts and shared 
the produce with the owner, developed and became permanent. 
It can be demonstrated that the increase in the number of 
small farms was a barometer for measuring the increase in 
tenantry. By 1880 forty-five per cent, of all the farms of 
Georgia were operated by tenants. 

As far as the landlord was concerned the resort to tenancy 
was a necessary evil rather than a deliberate choice. He was 
in no position to control the agricultural reformation. Not only 
had his property resources been largely destroyed by emanci- 
pation, but frequently he was burdened by debt, and he was 
further crippled by a fall in land values of some forty-eight 
per cent, between 1860 and 1870. He was without liquid capi- 
tal to finance, or experience to direct, a wage system by which 
alone the plantation could have been kept intact. Instead of 
a docile labor class he found the freedmen rebelliously inde- 
pendent and insistent upon greater exemption from control. 
Poverty and urgent necessity compelled him to salvage what 
he could from the debacle. Tenancy seemed the only way by 
which the inefficient elements of Southern agriculture an 
ignorant, unpropertied labor force and a landowning class 
without capital or authority could be fused into a produc- 
tive combination. It. at least permitted life. 

At best, however, the situation was not an attractive one 
for the planting aristocracy. Many threw their lands upon the 
market for sale and sought other means of livelihood. Others 
moved into the cities, and absentee landlordism took its place 
among the ills from which the South suffered. The agricul- 
tural well-being of the South rested in the hands of the Negroes 
and the small white farmers. On the one hand this gave the 
energetic and capable poor men of both races greater oppor- 
tunity for progress. But it also meant a weakening of intel- 
ligent control. The poverty and ignorance of the farming classes 
were soon reflected in a steady decline in the efficiency of 
Southern agriculture, especially in the more fertile areas where 
slavery had planted the Negroes in largest numbers. Even 
from this misfortune, however, came some good. Need for 


better educational facilities became a pressing problem now 
that it affected the economic welfare of the section. Ere long 
a common school movement would sweep the South in much 
the same manner the North had experienced a generation 

The abounding poverty depressed the tenant into a status 
approximating peonage. Lacking sufficient savings to live 
through a season of growing crops without borrowing, he dis- 
covered that credit was an expensive luxury. Banking facil- 
ities in rural areas fell sadly short of the demand. Even where 
they existed, the only security the tenant had to offer the bank 
was a lien placed on his share of the anticipated crop. The 
village merchant with whom he traded for food, clothing, and 
other supplies perforce became his banker, giving credit in 
return for a crop lien. By 1880 approximately three fourths of 
the agricultural classes in the South were chronic debtors, and 
the merchants through their control of credit were the domi- 
nant factor in the new economic structure. 

With all its faults, the decentralization of Southern agricul- 
ture involved a social revolution that brought the section nearer 
to the Northern way of life^ The center of gravity in rural 
areas became the common man. Tenancy, low crop prices, debt, 
poor educational facilities, and other similar problems that 
pressed on the dirt farmers assumed the place in Southern 
thought once occupied by the defense of slavery and the inter- 
ests of a favored gentry. A community of interest was thus 
established with the farmers of the West who were also vexed 
with falling prices and rising debts. In time common needs 
would operate as a bond of union, 

New ties were also established with the commercial centers 
of the Northeast. The Commercial and Financial Chronicle 
noted as early as 1869 that marked changes of doing business 
had taken place in the South. No longer did the proprietors of 
large estates make wholesale purchases for their dependents. 
The planter had formerly been a sort of small jobber, buying 
in large quantities from the dealer in the large cities or from 
the neighborhood merchant who kept a large stock. The middle 
class of small merchants in the Old South had found little 
profit in this arrangement and consequently had not thriven. 


Now, however, the planter no longer had dependent workers. 
He purchased only for his household. Former slaves, grouped 
in families, made their own purchases. Likewise the more 
progressive status of the white farmer made for a larger 
market. Retail trading grew up where wholesale trading had 
prevailed. 2 

In direct ratio as the number of farms increased, villages of 
retail stores grew up to serve the needs of the small farmer. 
In this sense the rural South came daily to approximate more 
nearly the countryside of a Middle Western State. Moreover, 
a type of Southern buyer previously unknown to Northern 
markets made his appearance, and to meet his needs the great 
commercial houses of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis sent traveling salesmen 
into the deepest recesses of the South. A more intimate nexus 
of trade was thus woven into the fiber of national life. 

If the majority of Negroes sank deep into peonage, the ten- 
ant system was nevertheless a means by which a low grade of 
unskilled labor could enter agriculture, and incidentally bring 
profit to the section. Socially it brought discipline into the 
chaos of race relationships and in this respect proved the first 
constructive step in removing the Negro problem from the 
arena of sectional controversy. At the same time it permitted 
the more enterprising and capable Negro to progress to the 
higher level of ownership. Finally it presented concretely to 
the South the need for Negro education. Soon appeared the 
Hampton idea of industrial education. This, as we shall see, 
served as a bridge of better understanding between North 
and South. 

So far as the white farming classes were concerned, the 
breakup of the plantations destroyed the major force which 
had repressed their development. Steadily they assumed a more 
significant role in the productive economy of the South. Their 
gain was in part the Negroes' loss. Whereas in 1860 there 
had been eight blacks to every white in the cotton fields, by 
1876 two out of every five cotton farmers were white. 3 If 
shiftlessness characterized the bulk of such workers, there was 

2 Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Oct. 23, 1869. 

8 M. B, Hammond, "The Cotton Industry" (New York, 1897), 129. 


a minority of progressive men who found in the new conditions 
opportunity for advance. If the crop lien made for single 
crop agriculture this group nevertheless developed such diver- 
sification as the South achieved, notably the later truck farm- 
ing for Northern markets. If poverty was their lot, it was 
from the small savings of many farmers that the financing of 
Southern manufactures was in large part to be accomplished. 
Where the plantation system had operated to rend asunder 
the economic life of North and South, the small farm worked 
in countless ways to bring Southern life into closer harmony 
with the major trends in national life. 

Meanwhile a remarkable modification of Southern opinion 
in regard to economic matters was taking place. The traditional 
loyalty to agriculture was not repudiated. But the old boasts of 
cotton supremacy and the glorification of slave institutions that 
had filled the air in 1860 were silenced. The disasters of the 
war, affirmed F. W. Dawson, editor of the Charleston News, 
"have taught the Southern planter that he cannot live by cot- 
ton alone/' 4 The tendency was to blame slavery as "the cause 
of all [our] evils the backwardness and stationariness of 
the South ; a wasteful husbandry, without other industries ; the 
instability of her wealth ; . . . her neglect of common schools ; 
the absorption of all her intellectual energies in feverish and 
revolutionary politics ; and, finally, secession and the reddened 
ground of a thousand battle-fields." 5 By 1880 those who were 
concerned with the industrial renovation of the section had 
made a commonplace out of the observation that "it is the 
white man of the South more than the black that has been 
freed by the civil war." 6 

Material interests commanded the respect and energy politics 
had once received. A man prominent in business was listened 
to with more attention than a statesman. Dawson wrote the 
creed of the new order in his editorials: "Restoration of the 
material prosperity of the South should be the chief object 
and the untiring effort of all her sons, . . . improvement of 

* Charleston News, Jan. 4, 1868. 

5 Reed, "Old and New South," 11. 

6 W. F. Tillett, "The White Man of the New South," Century, XXXIII 
(1887), 769-776. See also Land We Love, III (1867), 29; and A. G. Hay- 
good, "Our Brother in Black" (New York, 1881), 27. 


her lands, . . . development of her manufactures, . . . ex- 
tension of her railroads, . . . growth of her cities and towns, 
. . . gradual education of her people." Repeatedly he preached 
the doctrine of work : "The surest way of improving the labor 
of the country is by going to work ourselves. . . . We must 
adapt ourselves to the new order of things or we are lost. 
. . . The salvation of the State depends upon every man go- 
ing to work." On another occasion he wrote, "We are sick of 
the everlasting humbug that talks and does nothing. The time 
has passed when men can prop themselves solely on the repu- 
tation of their forefathers. Brain and brawn nowadays are 
the weapons of the world's struggle." Editorials of this sort 
published in the most influential newspaper of South Carolina 
gave evidence of the extent to which the South was altering 
its views on life. "If the Old South had a contempt for the 
worker," observed an educator at Vanderbilt in Tennessee, 
"the New South has a greater contempt for the do-nothing 
and the idler." 7 

The period was one of self-appraisal. In place of the earlier 
confidence in the self-sufficiency of the Cotton Kingdom there 
was at times a tendency to grow too pessimistic in viewing the 
inadequacies of Southern industry and agriculture. The sec- 
tion surrendered, momentarily at least, to a feeling of weak- 
ness and despair. On every hand, a reporter of the New York 
Tribune observed, people were endlessly repeating, "This coun- 
try will never do nothin' till we have some Northern men and 
capital." 8 

At no time in the postwar period did Southern morale reach 
so low a level as when the yearning to escape the dire circum- 
stances of defeat led many to expect salvation from the North. 
Most of the economic plans of these early years were premised 
upon an expectation that Northern capital would pour into the 
South to finance its industrial development and that immigrants 

7 Charleston News, Feb. n, 15, 1868, Dec. 20, 1870. See also King, "Great 
South," 305 ; J. B. Harrison, "Glimpses of a New Dixie," New York Tribune 
Extra Number 81 (New York, 1881), 5; Tillett, op. cit., 769; N. S. Shaler, 
"An Ex- Southerner in South Carolina," Atlantic Monthly, XXVI (1870), 55 ; 
T. W. Higginson, "Some War Scenes Revisited," Atlantic Monthly, XLII 
(1878), 8. 

8 Harrison, op. cit., 5. 


from Europe and the North would solve the problem of free 

In fact, the Southern people without knowing it were re- 
enacting the experience of the children of Israel in Egyptian 
bondage upon whom Pharaoh placed the heavy burden of 
making bricks without straw. The South had the task of re- 
juvenating agriculture with an inefficient labor supply and to 
build factories without capital or much mechanical experience. 
The Hebrews first "cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore 
dealest thou thus with thy servants ?" and were rebuffed, turn- 
ing finally to place their trust in Jehovah of their fathers. 
Southerners in their first despair pleaded for assistance from 
the North. They, too, were to find no such easy escape, and 
turned eventually . to building upon their own foundations the 
basis of their salvation. 

Yet the clamor for Northern capital and immigrants was 
characteristic of the period. Editors, planters, real estate men, 
cotton merchants, railroad officials, and state commissioners 
of immigration filled newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, and 
books with a swelling chorus of appeals for investments and 
settlers. 9 Immigrants, it was expected, would add diversifica- 
tion to agriculture and teach thrift and industry to the Negroes. 
Capital would rebuild and extend the Southern railroad net, 
develop water power, and boom cotton and iron manufactur- 
ing. It was not only Southerners who spread this propaganda. 
Pike found space in his short book, "The Prostrate State," 
for two chapters on immigration ("the South's greatest need") 
and inducements for Northerners to venture into this "agricul- 
tural paradise/' King, Somers, and Nordhoff devoted many 
pages to observations about "the crying need at the South for 
both immigration and capital/' The Commercial and Financial 
Chronicle urged the establishment of emigration companies 
in the North to establish new settlements in the South. The 
most publicized document of the period in this respect was a 
book prepared and freely distributed by a Boston firm of cot- 

9 For examples see Charleston News, Dec. 30, 1867 ; Nation, Jan. 6, 1870 ; 
and Donoho, Joy and Co., "The Southern States: Their Wonderful Re- 
sources and Peculiar Advantages" (Memphis, 1870). A recent study is B. J. 
Loewenberg, "Efforts of the South to Encourage Immigration, 1865-1900," 
South Atlantic Quarterly, XXXIII (1934), 363-385. 


ton brokers, Loring and Atkinson. Based upon a questionnaire 
widely circularized among cotton planters, it indicated a con- 
sensus in favor of immigration. 10 

Those interested in the industrial recovery of the South gave 
little attention to the issues which were keeping alive the sec- 
tional conflict. It is an instructive experience to note how 
Dawson's hopes for an economic union of North and South 
tempered his editorials on Reconstruction in the harassed 
State of South Carolina. 11 Southern business men spoke with 
contempt of the politicians who "used the language of the 
past to give them, personally, . . . prominence." ** While the 
Southern Review under Bledsoe's editorship went its vindic- 
tive way, another journal was founded in Charlotte, North 
Carolina, to express a different sentiment. Bearing the senti- 
mental name, The Land We Love, and edited by a former 
lieutenant general of the Confederacy, D. H. Hill, this pe- 
riodical devoted its chief energies to preaching the in- 
dustrial possibilities of the Piedmont. With such work to 
accomplish its tone on sectional issues was distinctly concili- 
atory. 13 

The North towards which the Southern business man thus 
cast a wistful eye was a giant growing daily more powerful 
in economic strength. It may well be true that Northern editors 
occasionally affirmed that "at this moment there is no more 
truly patriotic effort than that of promoting the movement 
of skilled industry toward the ... Southern States." 14 But 
actually the North had little energy or money to devote to 
Southern development. The section was preoccupied with its 
own tremendous advance in building its great industries and 
railroads and extending the empire of business. So far as ex- 
ploitation of new regions was concerned, the New West of 
agriculture, transcontinental railroads, ranching and mining, 
seemed far more remunerative for investment than the har- 

f 10 Loring and Atkinson, "Cotton Culture and the South Considered 
with Reference to Emigration" (Boston, 1869). 

11 Charleston News^, Feb. 2, 1870, April 29, 1871. 

12 President Baldwin of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, as quoted 
in B. Mitchell, "The Rise of The Cotton Mills in the South" (Baltimore, 
1921), 78. 

13 See as typical Land We Love, III (1867), 29. 

14 Harper's Weekly, April 29, 1871. 


assed South with its apparently exhausted fields, its Negro 
disturbances, and its bankrupt governments. 

It was the South's own problem to solve. No lesson was 
more valuable or more thoroughly learned than that the sec- 
tion's redemption would have to be achieved through the ef- 
forts of Southern people. Yearnings for easy escape were frus- 
trated. The amount of immigration proved insignificant. The 
census of 1880 numbered fewer persons of foreign birth in 
the South than had been there in 1860. Within the United 
States, the same authority indicated, the course of migration 
was mainly westward, and secondarily northeastward to the 
cities, with the southward trend not appreciable. Nor did the 
appeal for capital, except in cases about to be noted, meet with 
greater success. Southern pleas for men and money aroused 
a counter propaganda in the North which pointed to disturbed 
political conditions, the presence of the Negro, and the general 
uncertainty of the Southern future as reasons why moneyed 
men and homeseekers should shun the unhappy section. 

Economic contacts between the sections revealed the un- 
certainties and maladjustments natural to imperfect integra- 
tion. Business men in quest of profits found the same embar- 
rassment that had handicapped the reconcilers of the centennial 
celebrations. Enterprising plans, hopefully conceived and in- 
volving friendly intercourse between the sections, too fre- 
quently came to grief. "Every consideration of national in- 
terest and national pride," the ordinary man of business was 
apt to say, "requires the prosecution of a more generous 
policy" of Reconstruction "in order that we may develop the 
wealth of the South." 15 But timidly he waited for greater 
security. The editor of Hunt's Merchants' Magazine observed 
that business men were apprehensive and deemed it prudent 
to wait until political affairs became more settled. 16 

It was this attitude, resulting in procrastination, rather than 
the hostility of the business classes, that retarded the unifying 
influence of economic activity. Opinion in the business world 
varied as it did in the field of politics. One student has pre- 

15 Hunt's Merchants" Magazine, LIV (1866), 170-172. 
16 Ibid., LV (1866), 309-310. See also Commercial and Financial Chron- 
icle, Oct. 6, 1866. 


sented the thesis that certain Radicals in New England inter- 
ested in tariff protection were hostile to the restoration of 
friendly relations with the South. 17 It has also been maintained 
that some powerful politicians of the East were inimical to 
the South because they saw the opportunity of entrenching 
"big business" in the phraseology of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment. 18 A reading of contemporary documents and business 
periodicals, however, would seem to indicate that the more 
vocal groups of Northern business favored moderation as the 
more effective means of effecting a rapid economic recovery 
of the South. This was especially true of merchants, cotton 
manufacturers, financiers, and railroad executives. 

The leading business journal of the country, the Commercial 
and Financial Chronicle, consistently advocated a policy of 
leniency towards the South. It assailed as unstatesmanlike the 
program of Radical Reconstruction and reported conditions 
in the South in a manner that contradicted Radical propaganda. 
It advised Northern investments in the defeated section and 
sought to divert Southward a portion of the immigration tide. 
It worked avidly for the upbuilding of Southern agriculture, 
mining, and manufacture. Its eyes were directed to a future 
South of prosperity that might become a lucrative market for 
Northern goods. To reunite the Nation economically seemed 
to the Chronicle a far more patriotic course than to perpetuate 
division by agitating impossible ideals of Radical inception. 

Cotton brokers of New York and Philadelphia, and cotton 
manufacturers of New England, apart from what views they 
entertained in regard to a protective tariff, had an immediate 
interest in seeking the restoration of friendly relations with 
the South. The cotton trade knew full well the importance of 
bringing discipline to the Southern labor force. When theories 
of Negro equality resulted in race conflict, and conflict in 
higher prices of raw cotton, manufacturers were inclined to ac- 
cept the point of view of the Southern planter rather than that 
of the New England zealot. There is sufficient evidence in the 
activity of the Boston firm of Loring and Atkinson to war- 

17 H. K. Beale, "Tariff and Reconstruction," American Historical Review, 
XXXV (1930), 276-294. . . ... ... 

18 Charles and Mary Beard, "Rise of American Civilization (New 

York, 1927), II, H3. 


rant this observation. When the National Association of Cot- 
ton Manufacturers and Planters was organized in 1868, the 
larger Northern membership was especially concerned in in- 
creasing the Southern representation, and indicated that a 
prime purpose of organization was to establish more harmoni- 
ous contact between the raisers and manufacturers of cotton. 19 

Another problem for the cotton trade to solve was to ad- 
just marketing to the changed conditions of production. Small 
farmers sold their crops in small quantities to local dealers, 
whereas the prewar organization had been adjusted to the 
larger outputs of plantations. New practices in grading and 
collecting had to be devised. Quietly through these years was 
perfected a network of relationships that integrated nationally 
one of the nation's greatest economic activities. Even the 
speculators in cotton futures found it imperative to organize 
more intimately their Southern contacts. The decentralization 
of Southern agriculture made more difficult the task of esti- 
mating the probable size, condition, and price of crops. This 
difficulty could be solved only by closer contact with the cotton 
fields. The Federal government was urged to enlarge its ac- 
tivities in crop reporting. Cotton exchanges were organized in 
New Orleans, New York, and a number of lesser cities. A con- 
vention of all the cotton exchanges met in Augusta, Georgia, 
in 1874, and organized a National Cotton Exchange. This 
body had a checkered career, but the New York and New Or- 
leans exchanges continued active in promoting uniformity in 
trading practices. 20 

Because of the insecure agricultural and industrial future of 
the South, the interest of Northern banking houses in the 
section during the fifteen postwar years was limited primarily 
to financing railroad securities and issues of State bonds. Until 
1873 ^e situation was favorable for promoting railroads 
wherever located if the slightest promise of eventual profit 
could be shown. The North was in the midst of a great indus- 
trial boom the chief feature of which was the construction of 

19 National Association of Cotton Manufacturers and Planters, Proceed- 
ings, New York City, April 29, 1868 (pamphlet) . 

20 G. W. Neville, New York Cotton Exchange in Its Relation to Mer- 
chandising Cotton (pamphlet, Boston, 1912), 12-13. See also C. W. Burkett 
and C. H. Poe, "Cotton" (New York, 1906), 72. 


railroads in all parts of the United States. The ten thousand 
miles of track possessed by the South in 1861 had been largely 
destroyed or placed in bad condition by the wear and tear of war. 
By 1873 this original mileage was rebuilt and an additional 
eight thousand miles constructed. This progress was halted by 
the depression which began in 1873, but by 1880 the South 
had a modern railroad system of twenty thousand miles which 
gave it better economic unity than it had ever previously pos- 

If the improvement of the railroad facilities of the South 
was primarily the work of Southern men, the money which 
financed it came from the North. Brokerage houses in New 
York specialized in Southern rails. The officers and directors 
of nearly every important Southern road included Southerners 
active in management and Northern capitalists interested in 
investment. The Adams Express Company (itself a factor in 
the integrating influence of business) acted through its sub- 
sidiary, the Southern Express Company, in loaning money es- 
pecially to the weaker roads in return for a monopoly of ex- 
press business. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad may 
serve as an illustration of the sectional cooperation implied in 
this activity. The president of the road was E. P. Alexander, a 
young Georgian with a noteworthy military record in the Con- 
federacy and the title of general. Under his direction the road 
expanded into a system operating more than two thousand 
miles of track connecting Cincinnati and Louisville on the 
Ohio with Mobile and New Orleans. The capital which made 
Alexander's work possible was furnished by such New York 
investment houses as Drexel, Winthrop and Company, J. B. 
Alexander and Company, and John J. Cisco and Sons. 

Of more permanent value to national integration was the 
fact that this railroad-building tended more than ever to 
absorb the South into the transportation system of the coun- 
try. Shorter and weaker lines were acquired by the stronger, 
and the consolidated roads built new track to reach more dis- 
tant terminals, usually a contact with some important North- 
ern point. The extension of the Louisville and Nashville has 
been noted. The Chesapeake and Ohio by 1873 vindicated its 
name by completing a track from White Sulphur Springs to 


the Ohio. The Richmond and Danville, aided financially and 
controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad, consolidated by 1881 
a line connecting Richmond and Atlanta with branches that 
linked together the commercial centers of the Atlantic sea- 
board. The Norfolk and Western penetrated the Appalachian 
mountains of western Virginia and eastern Tennessee, open- 
ing a new mining empire. The Mobile and Ohio and other 
roads between the mountains and the Mississippi were under- 
going changes that would result in the eighties in consolidation 
under the Illinois Central system. By 1880 the transportation 
system of the South joined it far more effectively to the North 
than previously when few Southern roads had been built with 
a Northern contact in view. Regardless of what politicians 
were thinking, railroad builders were proceeding on the as- 
sumption that the movement of freight and passengers would 
know no section. Much of importance in the later wedding of 
the sections tourist travel, truck farming, grain shipments 
from the upper Mississippi Valley to the Gulf, cotton shipments 
by rail, as well as a greater interchange of articles of every 
sort was to proceed from this railroad activity and its con- 
tinuance. 21 

Northern investment in the bonds of Southern states was 
to have no such happy consequence. Owing to the wild ex- 
travagance of the carpetbag governments which issued them, 
the securities were never better than dubious speculative ven- 
tures. This, however, was not appreciated by the Northern 
purchasers, partly because the country was in a frenzied boom 
of industrial activity and partly because the practices of the 
Northern brokers were at a very low ethical level. The extrav- 
agance and corruption of the Southern governments under 
Radical control necessitated borrowing far beyond the ca- 
pacity of the impoverished States to repay. The credit of the 
State was pledged to any wild scheme for which a sufficiently 
powerful political support could literally be purchased by those 
seeking the support. A large proportion of the issues represented 
corrupt aid to railroads, canals, and levees. Even before the 
carpetbaggers were driven from office, their weird financial 

21 1 have relied chiefly upon the Commercial and Financial Chronicle for 
this account of Southern railroads. 


structure began to topple. By 1872 a "scaling down process" 
had begun. By 1880 a wholesale repudiation had taken place. 
Every Southern State except Texas was implicated. 22 

It would be difficult to see who profited from this unpleas- 
ant business except the Radical politicians and the brokers who 
marketed the securities. A very small proportion of the money 
was ever used in honest construction or legitimate purposes 
of government. Radicals controlling the Southern legislatures 
operated in open connivance with Northern banking houses. 
The former printed the bits of paper which pledged the honor 
of a State; the latter found the purchasers in Europe and the 
North. Possibly the most active alliance resulted from the 
support given by the prominent New York firm of Henry 
Clews and Company to the Stanton brothers of Boston for 
corrupting the Alabama legislature. Clews, whose agents were 
not always above resort to bribery, and whose own practices 
left much to be desired, had similar contacts in the Carolinas 
and Georgia. It is not known how many millions of dollars' 
worth of bonds the firm sold, but Clews himself stated that he 
invested (possibly it was his share of the profits) more than 
three and a half million dollars of his own fortune in Southern 
State securities. 23 

Ugly scars were left in both North and South. During the 
long years of saving and skimping that followed the carpet- 
bag orgy, the latter section remembered the extravagance. 
From the day in 1868 when Dawson wrote that the South 
would never feel in honor obligated to respect "bayonet" 
bonds, Southerners always felt justified in repudiating the is- 
sues. 2 * But both the credit and the reputation of the South 
severely suffered. Not only did business in Southern State 
securities virtually cease, but a general suspicion was aroused 

22 Excellent accounts of this subject are found in W. L. Fleming, "Civil 
War and Reconstruction in Alabama" (New York, 1905) ; F. B. Simkins 
and R. H. Woody, "South Carolina during Reconstruction" (Chapel Hill, 
I93 2 ) J and W. A. Scott, "The Repudiation of State Debts" (New York, 
1893). See also Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Jan. 27, 1877; and 
R. P. Porter, "State Debts and Repudiation," International Rev., IX (1880), 

23 Fleming, "Alabama," 582-585, 5917603; Simkins and Woody, "South 
Carolina," 213-214 ; "South in the Building of the Nation," VI, 307 ; Henry 
Clews, "Fifty Years in Wall Street" (New York, 1908), 551. 

24 Charleston News, Aug. 17, 1868. 


as to the financial trustworthiness of the section in other re- 
spects. This was a major factor in explaining why in the early 
period of the development of Southern manufactures, just 
beginning, so little Northern capital was attracted to the 

Repudiation met with a storm of denunciation throughout 
the North. Those who were left holding the worthless paper 
had for the most part purchased it in good faith. Their voices 
were now raised in condemnation of "these Southern States, 
with their solemn promises broken and their plighted faith 
disregarded/' 2S Repudiation brought criticism from some of the 
most friendly supporters the South could claim in the North. 
Thus the Nation asserted : 

It ought to be known by every one who has a dollar to invest, 
and by every emigrant who thinks of seeking a new home . . . , 
that in addition to the usual risks he runs, there is in such States 
as these one more that the sense of good faith is benumbed, 
if not dead, and that he is making himself one of a community 
of swindlers. 26 

The Commercial and Financial Chronicle was shocked into de- 
livering a continuous lecture of many years' duration on the 
importance of honorable financial conduct. Even Henry Clews 
was discovered to possess a moral sense, making speeches and 
writing articles that burned with righteous indignation at the 
spectacle of "Southern robbery." 2T Public opinion seemed 
prone to moralize on the general weaknesses in Southern char- 
acter. As late as 1893, when a candidate for the degree of 
doctor of philosophy published an historical examination of 
the cantankerous subject, he felt it necessary to probe "the 
fundamental differences of character between the Northern 
and Southern people/' to ascertain whether "in 'the course of 
these debt controversies the Southern character was unreli- 
able." 2S 

Where economic interests jibed, however, men of business 

25 Porter, op. cit. } 585. 

^Nation, Aug. 16, 1877. 

27 Clews, "Fifty Years in Wall Street," 255-288. 

38 Scott, "Repudiation of State Debts," 233-237. 


were men of peace. The Great Plains of the West, last frontier 
of the expanding Union and an area over whose destiny as 
free or slave territory the sectionalists of the fifties had 
wrangled tlje nation into war, gave opportunity for the rise 
of a new industry that first foretold the ultimate economic in- 
tegration of the North and South. Texas had cattle and needed 
money. The North had money and needed meat for its grow- 
ing urban population. The Great Plains, over whose free grass 
cattle, grazing and fattening as they went, could be driven to 
market, became the nexus. Within fifteen years after the close 
of the Civil War, four million Texan cattle were driven 
across the Great Plains to some railhead in Kansas whence 
they were shipped to Northern markets. 29 

It was historic justice that this earliest economic reunion 
of the sections occurred in that state where the first blood of 
civil conflict had been shed. Abilene, Kansas, was the first cow- 
town at whose market Southern ranchers met Northern buyers. 
Here, on September 5, 1867, amid the crude surroundings of 
a frontier settlement, men who had worn the blue and men 
who had worn the gray sat down together at a banquet cele- 
brating what they had done in erecting a bond of union be- 
tween the sections. In the South Federal troops were busily en- 
gaged in executing the will of Thaddeus Stevens. In the North 
the Radical spirit was dominant. Nevertheless the future was 
with Abilene. Where its sister town of Lecompton had pointed 
the way to blood and tragedy, Abilene was a signpost to re- 

While business men were seeking profits and financiers were 
wrangling over securities, another economic contact was made 
by Northerners who sought in the mild winter climate of the 
South resorts for relaxation and health. The White Sulphur 
Springs of Virginia was possibly the only Southern resort 
much frequented by Northerners in the ante-bellum period. 
But the extension of railroad facilities opened to ready access 
before 1880 points in northern Florida, the Asheville country 
of North Carolina, the Aiken region of South Carolina, the 
Gulf coast, and the Hot Springs of Arkansas. An increasing 
number of Northern visitors patronized these communities, 

29 W. P. Webb, "The Great Plains" (Boston, 1931), 205-269. 


and some purchased property to establish permanent winter 
homes. 30 

The economic importance of this development was appre- 
ciated by the editor of the Virginias Magazine, who commented 
on the opening of the Luray Caverns as follows : 

This also suggests that Virginia has greatly benefited by the 
enterprise of the Northern capitalists that has constructed the 
Shenandoah Valley R. R., by which these wonderful caverns are 
reached, built the Luray Inn to give first class accommodations 
to visitors, and converted an undeveloped "hole-in-the-ground" 
into a thing of surpassing beauty and a mine of wealth. Our people, 
if they but knew it, get the lion's share of such developments. 81 

It is also expected that an increase of Northern travel in the 
/South would lead to greater social intermingling and advertise 
the economic possibilities of the section. Whether these ex- 
pectations would materialize the future would determine. 
Meanwhile it could be noted that a beginning of tourist travel 
had been made. 

While the census of 1880 did not indicate a numerically 
important migration of Southerners to the North, it did re- 
veal that the Northern metropolises were beginning to attract 
Southern youth of exceptional ambition, and that Virginians 
especially were showing a propensity to try their fortunes in 
New York and Philadelphia. There seems to be no effective 
way of measuring the extent or influence of these transplanted 
Southerners. But one can point to the phenomenon and sug- 
gest the careers of John R. Thompson in journalism, George 
Gary Eggleston in letters, John H. Inman in the cotton trade, 
and Roger A. Pryor in law, as examples of Southerners in 
New York during the late sixties and the seventies who rose 
to prominence and made wide circles of friends. It was main- 
tained both that the emigres showed too great an eagerness "to 
crook the pregnant hinges of the knee," and that they "pro- 

30 Typical . books and articles are S. Lamer, "Florida" (Philadelphia, 
1875); Nation, Jan. 20, 1876; The Mountain Tourist (pamphlet, Spartan- 
burg, 1878) ; A. Coffin and W. H. Geddings, Aiken and Its Climate (pam- 
phlet) ; and Applet ons* Handbook of American Travel, Southern Tour (New 
York, 1869, 1874, 1880). 

31 The Virginias, VI (1885), 33- 


moted the solidarity of the country" by "utterly destroying" 
the "preconceived erroneous ideas" of the North toward South- 

erners. 32 

Contacts in the field of humanitarian endeavor between 1865 
and 1880 formed also a story of gains and losses. One of the 
greatest disparities between North and South when the war 
ended was the status of elementary education in the respective 
sections. The Northern States had well-established tax-sup- 
ported public schools. Public opinion was thoroughly informed 
as to the value of such a policy. The Southern States had made 
a start before the war toward establishing general systems. 
But attendance had not been made compulsory, taxation had 
been inadequate, a charity aspect associated with public schools 
had handicapped the movement, and public opinion had been 
extremely conservative in regard to the State's duty of public 
education. The Southern educational system had been adapted 
to perpetuate an aristocratic structure of society with the result 
that the training of the upper classes had been stressed while 
the great bulk of the Southern whites had been unreached by 
formal education and the Negroes had received no other train- 
ing than the discipline of slavery. Impoverished by losses of 
life and property in the war, confronted by the extravagant 
and fraudulent spending of the Reconstruction governments, 
the South seemed to face an impossible task in the reorgan- 
ization of its school system on a basis similar to the North 
and the inclusion within it of the mass of Negroes and hith- 
erto unschooled whites. 

Southern historians are divided in regard to the contribu- 
tions made by the Reconstruction governments established 
by the bayonet policies of the North. On the one side it has 
been maintained that, "When the reconstructionists surren- 
dered the government [in Mississippi] to the democracy, in 
1876, the public school system which they had fathered had 
become firmly established, its efficiency increased, and its ad- 
ministration made somewhat less expensive than at first/' 33 

32 H. I. Brock, "The South in Northern Culture," in "South in the Building 
of the Nation," VI, 280; N. K, Davis, "The Negro in the South," Forum, I 
(1886), 130. 

33 J. W. Garner, "Reconstruction in Mississippi" (New York, 1901), 


A second student, especially well informed on North Carolina, 
affirmed that "the principle of direct taxation was undoubtedly 
the most important contribution of the Reconstruction regime 
to the public school movement in the South." u A third in- 
vestigator discovered that none of the first eight constitutions 
of South Carolina had mentioned education. The constitution 
framed by the Radicals in 1868, however, made mandatory a 
complete system modeled on the best practices of the Northern 
States. When the Democrats came into control of South Caro- 
lina they built directly upon the foundations laid by their 
predecessors. 35 So also Bishop A. G. Haygood, of Georgia, 
noted that Reconstruction brought the common school to the 
South much sooner than natural evolution would have devel- 
oped it. 36 On the other hand, E. W. Knight, the leading 
authority on education in the South, is unwilling to admit that 
the section owed much to the carpetbag governments. He 
pointed to the looting and misappropriation of public funds 
and the piling up of colossal debts as permanent impedi- 
ments in the way of a later taxing program adequate for the 
needs of public education. He also saw in the efforts to force 
Northern conceptions upon the South without sufficient allow- 
ance for local differences an influence which alienated Southern 
opinion on schools in general. Knight was so confident that 
the white people of the South, if left unmolested, would have 
solved more easily and readily the problem of education, that 
he was inclined to view pessimistically all that the carpetbag- 
gers attempted as less good than what might have been. 37 

Yet it seems beyond doubt that, in anchoring the principle 
of the common school safely in the state constitutions, the 
carpetbag governments established a principle which hence- 
forth remained unassailable. Especially beneficial was the des- 
ignation of the sources for school support, uniform systems 

34 W. K. Bqyd, "Educational History in the South since 1865," in "Studies 
in Southern History and Politics, Inscribed to W. A. Dunning" (New York, 
1914), 263. 

85 J. A. Stoddard, "Backgrounds of Secondary Education in South Caro- 
line" (Columbia, 1924), 65-68. 

36 A. G. Haygood, "The South and the School Problem," Harper's 
Monthly, LXXIX (1889), 225-226. 

37 E. W. Knight, "The Influence of Reconstruction on Education in the 
South" (New York, 1913), and "Public Education in the South" (Boston, 


of taxation, and the emphatic injunction that Negroes as well 
as whites should be educated. It seems also true that the chief 
obstacles in the way of realizing these ideals were not political 
so much as they were social impoverishment, sparseness of 
population, and divided races. The task of overcoming these 
obstacles had not become less difficult in 1880 than it had been 
in 1865, but a clearer understanding of the fact prevailed that 
it was a burden and that the South must bear it. 

If contention accompanied the Radicals in all that they at- 
tempted, there was another agency in the Southern field whose 
work in these early years gave promise that ultimately the 
program of education would be a narrative of sectional co- 
operation. George Peabody, one of the nation's greatest and 
wealthiest financiers, had achieved a reputation for wise 
philanthropy through endowments which sought the allevia- 
tion of poverty in London. As in his gifts to England he had 
hoped to link two nations in friendly bonds, now after the 
Civil War it seemed to him more imperative to use his bounty 
in the restoration of good will between North and South. 
In two donations, February 7, 1867, and June 29, 1869, at a 
time when the Radicals in Congress were enacting the Recon- 
struction legislation, he established a trust fund of two million 
dollars, the interest of which was to be used for the promotion 
and encouragement of common school education in the South. 
"This I give to the suffering South," he wrote, "for the good 
of the whole country/ 1 8S 

The Peabody Education Fund thus established was directed 
by a board of trustees, which in itself was an experiment in 
harmony and understanding between the sections. On the 
original board sat representatives of Virginia and New York, 
North Carolina and Ohio, South Carolina and Massachusetts, 

38 Peabody also donated $1,500,000 in repudiated bonds of several South- 
ern States, but inasmuch as the Trustees never received a return on these 
bonds it seems more accurate to give the amount of the Fund as $2,000,000. 
The chief source of information on the work of the Peabody Education Fund 
is the published "Proceedings of the Trustees of the Peabody Education 
Fund," 6 vols. (Boston, 1875-1916). See also J. L. M. Curry, "Brief Sketch 
of George Peabody, and a History of the Peabody Education Fund" (Cam- 
bridge, 1898), Curry and Barnas Sears delivered many addresses before 
Southern legislatures and educational bodies. Most of these addresses have 
been published in pamphlet form. Knight, "Public Education in the South," 
devotes a chapter to the Peabody Education Fund. 


and Maryland and Pennsylvania. Distinguished men not only 
accepted membership on the board as an honor ; they seriously 
devoted time and energy to the work. Grant, even in the years 
of his Presidency of the United States, was faithful in at- 
tendance, as was his Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, of 
New York. Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, made 
service on the board the major interest of his later years, as 
did ex-Governors William Aiken, of South Carolina, and 
W. A. Graham, of North Carolina. Admiral Farragut seemed 
to his fellow trustees as zealous in this work of peace as he 
had been in running his ships past Confederate batteries. The 
Virginian, A. H. H. Stuart, was happy in the warm friend- 
ships membership on the board developed. The sincere devo- 
tion of these men inspired from the start public confidence in 
the work of the Fund. 

There is no need here to retell the history of the Fund's ad- 
ministration in the South. Barnas Sears, a New England 
educator who at one time had been President of Brown Uni- 
versity, was chosen General Agent. His work, which con- 
tinued until his death in 1880, was one of the most notable 
services in the history of American education. He cheer- 
fully shouldered the burden of wide travel throughout the 
South. The necessity of meeting and reconciling all sorts of 
people was made easy by his warmth of personality, tact, and 
intelligence. He inspired confidence, removed doubts and sus- 
picions, aroused sympathy, and did much in making "free 
schools for the whole people" an acceptable slogan for the 
advance of Southern education. Under his direction the Fund 
improved the sentiment for education in the South, developed 
the idea of adequate taxation for public schools, stimulated 
the establishment of school systems, and helped remove the 
hostility toward Negro education. Sears properly assessed the 
nature of this work when in February, 1880 he wrote, "I shall 
be happy indeed, if after I shall have done some of the rougher 
work, in sailing near the rocks and quicksands of the coast, 
my successor shall be sailing in an open sea." The pioneer work 
had been done, and when in 1881 management was transferred 
to a Southerner, J. L. M. Curry, of Alabama, the problem was 
primarily that of using the Fund as a lever to lift Southern 


education from under its social inheritance of poverty and 

The Peabody Education Fund contributed largely to a bet- 
ter understanding between North and South. Southerners gen- 
erally approved of the work. The Trustees sought to shape 
Northern public opinion to a more charitable approach to 
Southern problems of Reconstruction, the Negro, and educa- 
tion. Not only was the gift of Peabody one of the earliest 
manifestations of the spirit of reconciliation, but it was also 
a most effective means of stimulating that spirit in others. 

The public school movement in the South was still in its 
infancy fifteen years after the war had ended. The work accom- 
plished seemed pitiably insignificant compared to the stagger- 
ing burden which still remained to be carried. Nevertheless a 
thoughtful observer in 1880 would have discerned a signifi- 
cant portent in the developing sentiment for education. A 
basic article in the creed of Americanism was faith in common 
schools. More important than Northern aid was the fact that 
the South itself was responding to the urge of placing a school 
house within the reach of all its people. 

A brighter side of the activities of Northern church bodies 
in the South might also be indicated than that which has previ- 
ously been described. Mistaken, narrow and bigoted as were 
many of the early missionaries, and damaging as was their 
muddling in the delicate realm of race relationships, the main 
source of the work was a purity of devoted self-sacrifice 
which a later generation can recognize made some contribution 
of permanent value. Most of the Negroes who received educa- 
tion in the South between 1865 and 1880 were schooled in 
institutions supported by the charity of Northern churches. 
The American Missionary Association spent annually an 
average of $100,000 and maintained eight institutions of col- 
legiate grade, twelve high and normal schools, and twenty- 
four common schools in which more than seven thousand 
Negroes and one hundred and sixty teachers were enrolled in 
1880. S. C. Armstrong at Hampton Institute was materially 
aided by this body. Atlanta University, in the Georgia capital, 
with the best Negro library in the South, and Fisk University 
in Nashville were the progeny of this Congregational associ- 


ation. The Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church and the American Baptist Home Mission carried a 
large portion of the work, while the Northern Presbyterians, 
Episcopalians, and Quakers aided to a lesser extent. 39 

The positive contributions were far reaching. S. C. Arm- 
strong, in founding Hampton Institute on the principle of 
industrial training and agricultural education, developed the 
most important single idea in the improvement of the Negro 
race. Teacher training was an important conception stressed 
at Atlanta and Fisk. Both the plans by which, and the major 
institutions through which, the later elevation of the Negro 
was to be effected were given the South in these years by the 
endeavor of Northern churches. Progress in the future de- 
pended largely upon the white South's acceptance of this work 
and building upon its foundation. 

Even in this respect there was reason for optimism. Gradu- 
ally the possibilities of common work on common ground 
were being recognized. It would be an exaggeration to say 
that the Northern workers in the South were adjusted to 
their environment by 1880, or that Southern opinion ac- 
cepted them in intimate communion. But it is true that the 
trend was toward improved understanding. Better-minded 
Northerners were beginning to realize that their work must 
be subordinate and supplementary to what the white South did, 
that they were henceforth to assist rather than to direct. New 
efforts were being made to effect a closer harmony. Likewise 
Southerners were showing less suspicion of schools for Ne- 
groes, and in places there was actually developing a sustain- 
ing public opinion for Negro education. With this better 
basis established the activity of Northerners like A. D. Mayo 
and Southerners like A. G. Haygood during the eighties and 
nineties would proceed on easier terms of cooperation. 

The fifteen years after Appomattox had thus constituted a 
period of diverse and contradictory lights and shadows. The 
confusion of Northern attitudes had found expression through 
varied outlets that ranged from extreme vindictiveness to sur- 

39 A. D. Mayo, "Work of Certain Northern Churches in the Education 
of the Freedman, 1861-1900," Report of the United States Commissioner of 
Education for 1901-1902 (Washington, 1902), I, 285-314; Haygood, "Brother 
in Black," 170-181. 


prisingly generous acts of charity. Uncertainty as to what the 
North would do and could do in the South had prevailed, 
making for trials and errors and then resulting by 1880 in a 
general cessation of Northern attempts at positive conquest 
of Southern culture. Political Reconstructionists retired, leav- 
ing the South to its own devices. Northern churchmen and 
charity workers beat a retreat, from the confident crusade 
of remaking Southern society, to the humbler attitude of giv- 
ing aid where aid was acceptable. Boosters were still predicting 
a boom in Southern industry, but the -Northern attitude had 
grown cynical of expecting progress from what it was con- 
vinced was the most economically backward section of the 
country. In fact the North by 1880 was willing to retire from 
the field of combat, no longer apprehensive of the Union or 
zealous for the rights of Negroes, and confident in its own 
political and economic dominance. The North was willing to 
let the South solve its own destiny. Whether the proud foe 
of earlier days, now reduced to a humble state of impotency, 
would beat down its traditions of gentility and agriculture 
and adjust itself to the newer age of business exploitation and 
common man standards in society was henceforth a decision 
for the South to make. 

The South had within itself all the elements for deciding 
whether it would merge its future in a common Americanism 
or remain aloof, loyal to a tradition which seemed discarded 
and destroyed by the remainder of the world. Bledsoe or 
Dawson, Dabney or Curry, each a Southerner which was 
the wiser prophet? Evidence as to conditions in the South was 
presented in such bewilderment of contradiction as to make 
difficult for Southerners an answer to the question. The rural 
South seemed a community of impoverished aristocrats and 
debt-ridden tenants, yet in apparent inconsistency more people 
were at work than ever before and census figures revealed 
that they were raising more crops than in the good old prewar 
years. While gentle ladies and gallant heroes filled pages of 
unreconciled reminiscences about the horrors of Sherman's 
march, other Southerners who had worn the gray uniform of 
the Confederacy boasted of the returning prosperity in such 
citadels of Southern tradition as South Carolina and Virginia. 


If many were bitter over Reconstruction memories there was 
in contrast the accomplished fact of Southern restoration to 
full political rights within the Union to take off the edge of 
bitterness. If pessimism prevailed in some quarters in regard 
to race relations, there was also optimism in the observation 
that the system of free labor was meeting with an unexpectedly 
high degree of success and that the abolition of slavery had 
destroyed a provincializing influence. 40 

The Old South had had DeBow and William Gregg to 
champion manufactures and to urge diversification of agri- 
culture. The Old South had also had land for yeoman farm- 
ers and resources of raw materials, water power, and potential 
labor supply. All the seeds for its own eventual destruction 
had been planted in Southern soil before the War for South- 
ern Independence had begun. Yet their germination had been 
retarded by the presence of the hardier growths of slavery 
and the plantation system. These latter plants were now up- 
rooted and the seeds of a New South were beginning to 
sprout. Historians will probably always disagree as to which 
was the lovelier bloom, the Old or the New. 41 But two things 
seem beyond dispute. The New South was the South's own re- 
sponsibility, and it was built upon inbred Southern traits that 
approximated Northern characteristics far more completely than 
did the distinctive qualities of the ante-bellum South. 

One thing was still required for the revolution in Southern 
attitude to be complete. The New must breed a faith and con- 
fidence in itself. That faith and confidence was the contribu- 
tion of young men growing up to manhood in the eighties, 
young men demanding the right to live a life of action and 
fulfillment rather than a life of wearing sackcloth amid the 
ashes of past grandeur. 

40 For various shades of Southern opinion see Charleston Chamber of 
Commerce, The Trade and Commerce of the City of Charleston (pamphlet, 
Charleston, 1873); Virginias Magazine, II (1881), 12; E. DeLeon, "The 
New South," Harper's Monthly, XL VIII (1874), 270-280, 406-422, XLIX 
(i874), 555-568. 

41 The disagreement among Southerners can be shown by comparing 
Twelve Southerners, "I'll Take My Stand" (New York, 1931), and Stark 
Young, "So Red the Rose" (New York, 1934), with R. H. Edmonds, "The 
South's Redemption from Poverty to Prosperity" (Baltimore, 1890), and 
Broadus Mitchell, "The Industrial Revolution in the South" (Baltimore, 



THE young men of the postwar South were sired by an Old 
South disciplined in war and revolutionary Reconstruction. 
Virtually every tenet of the new creed of life was a lesson 
seared deep into the minds of the older generation by painful 
experience and exacting necessity. No later politician was to 
plead more eloquently for peace between the sections than 
had Wade Hampton, John B. Gordon, and L. Q. C. Lamar in 
the seventies. No journalist after 1880 added an idea or a 
word to the preachments of F. W. Dawson on the gospel of 
labor, the need of manufactures, and the desirability of agri- 
cultural diversification. The industrialists had little more to 
do than to follow the trails blazed before 1880 by such pi- 
oneers as John T. Milner and Henry P. Hammett. In the field 
of education men of the war generation like J. L. M. Curry 
and William Preston Johnston had fully developed the dogma 
of public schools and were engaged in the campaign for its 
attainment. The language and much of the equipment of the 
coming order were the Old South's transmittal to the New. 
Young men, growing up in an age of war and Reconstruc- 
tion and compelled to adapt themselves to the altered condi- 
tions of life which these struggles created, revealed a strong 
predilection to follow the teaching of those members of the 
older generation who were loudest in disavowal of "the 
mythic beauties of a mythic past." x To adherents of the tradi- 
tion of departed grandeur it seemed as though the young men 

Hampden Chamberlain, Confederate veteran and editor of the 
Richmond Whig in an address to the student body of Randolph-Macon Col- 
lege in 1875, as quoted in Hendricks, "Training of an American," 57. See also 
W. P. Johnston, Commencement Address, South Carolina College, June 25, 
1884 (pamphlet). 


were bowing "the knee to expediency, ignoring or forgetting 
principle/' 2 But actually it was the impulse of youth which, 
conscious of the suffering through which the South had 
passed, nevertheless preferred to welcome the herald of hope 
and ambition rather than abide the prophet of despair and 

To equip themselves for life in the future rather than for 
defense of the past, the young men accepted and made basic 
in their creed the revised judgment of Southern history which 
the more progressive of their elders had so painfully elab- 
orated. Typical of the prevailing opinion was the speech made 
by a twenty- four year old Virginian whose boyhood had been 
spent in South Carolina. "I yield to no one precedence in love 
for the South/' asserted Woodrow Wilson in 1880. "But be- 
cause I love the South, I rejoice in the failure of the Con- 
federacy. . . . The perpetuation of slavery would, beyond all 
question, have wrecked our agricultural and commercial in- 
terests, at the same time that it supplied a fruitful source of 
irritation abroad and agitation within. We cannot conceal from 
ourselves the fact that slavery was enervating our Southern 
society and exhausting to Southern energies. . . . Even the 
damnable cruelty and folly of reconstruction was to be pre- 
ferred to helpless independence." 3 

Others were eager to demonstrate that the new creed was 
in harmony with the best traditions of the South. Edgar 
Gardener Murphy went so far as to maintain that the New 
South was only "a story of reemergence" of the finest traits 
in Southern character.* Richard H. Edmonds, the founder, 
editor, and manager of the Manufacturers' Record, found jus- 
tification for his determined boosting of Southern industry in 
what he asserted to be the amount of manufactures and the 
extent of mechanical skill in the Old South. 5 Walter Hines 

2 William Barnes to Jefferson Davis, June 26, 1882, Rowland, "Davis," 
IX, 174. 

3 Woodrow Wilson, "Oration on John Bright," delivered before the Jef- 
ferson Society of the University of Virginia, R. S. Baker (ed.), "Public 
Papers of Woodrow Wilson, College and State" (New York, 1925), I, 43- 

4 E. G. Murphy, "Problems of the Present South" (New York, 1904), 
10-11, 97. 

5 Edmonds, "South's Redemption"; Manufacturers' Record (Baltimore), 
I-X (1882-1892), passim. 


Page, looking to the remoter past, assailed the "mistaken lead- 
ership" of the prewar and war period for departing from the 
true Southern mission, established by Jefferson, of uplifting 
the "forgotten man," and for plunging the section into the 
fatal consequences of the Civil War. To Page the "submerged 
people," that is the rural population of "sturdy fiber" and 
"robust vigor" of which he himself was a representative, 
was the true South upon which future greatness must be 
built. 6 

Most persuasive of all the historical revisions was that made 
by D. A. Tompkins, possibly the most energetic of all the 
promoters of the cotton mill campaign. He pictured the early 
nineteenth century, before the institution of slavery had be- 
come the dominant economic force in Southern life, as a 
golden age when Southern manufacturers had been more pros* 
perous than those of any other section, and when Southerners 
had shown greater mechanical aptitude than Yankees. The 
"revolutionary growth" of the slave plantation system was, 
in Tompkins' exposition, both a break in Southern tradition 
and a fatal diversion of Southern energies into a form of ag- 
riculture which ruined manufactures, depressed the white 
wage-earning classes, and impoverished the section. Conse- 
quently the war which removed the incubus, in spite of the 
sufferings it entailed, proved not a tragedy but a blessing. 
Henceforth a greater future was in store when Southerners 
could prosecute to a happy completion the industrial devel- 
opment which "an excess zeal for slavery" had previously 
prevented. 7 If Tompkins' thesis rested upon shaky historical 
evidence it seemed plausible to the supporters of the new 
regime and permitted them to claim that they were patriotic 
Southerners working in loyalty to the Southern past. 

At times the more impetuous of the young men indulged 
in harsh strictures of those members of the older generation 

6 Hendricks, "Training of an American," passim. 

7 Tompkins expressed these opinions on many occasions in speeches, some 
of which were published in pamphlet form, in editorials of his newspaper, the 
Charlotte Observer, and in several books, more notably, "Cotton Mills" 
(Charlotte, 1899), "Cotton and Cotton Oil" (Charlotte, 1900), and "History 
of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte," (1903). See also G. T. 
Winston, "A Builder of the New South" (New York, 1920). 


who held tenaciously to the beliefs of antebellum days. This 
was notably true of Walter Hines Page who spoke contemptu- 
ously of "mummies/' "ghosts," and "Bourbons," and on one 
occasion arrogantly asserted that "What North Carolina most 
needs is a few first-class funerals/' 8 But more normal was 
the practice of idealizing the past without permitting it to 
interfere with the practices of the present. Youth needed 
courage to stifle the feeling of inferiority that arose out of 
the South's defeat. This, too, they received from the Old 
South by boasting of the greatness of their fathers. They 
made a golden age of the plantation era and a heroic epoch 
of the Confederate War. In doing so they equipped themselves 
with strength to face the future. 

The idealization of the past arose naturally from boyhoods 
spent in the exciting days of war and Reconstruction. Too 
young to comprehend the full significance of the events that 
occupied the lives of their parents, the children who formed 
the new generation were deeply impressed that the period had 
been one of great fortitude and devotion. Joel Chandler Harris 
and Thomas Nelson Page were imbued with a sense of rev- 
erence toward the Old South and urged the New to emulate 
its virtues. Henry W. Grady gloried in the bravery of the 
Confederate soldier. Tompkins, while attacking the economics 
of slavery, defended the humanity of the system, and wrote 
idyllic pictures of "Life in the Old South." Woodrow Wilson, 
after condemning the institution of slavery and the policy of 
Southern independence, paid "loving tribute to the virtues 
of the leaders of secession, to the purity of their purposes, to 
the righteousness of the cause which they thought they were 
promoting and to the immortal courage of the soldiers of 
the Confederacy." 9 Even Walter Hines Page wanted to com- 
bine the best features of "two distinct civilizations," so as to 
move forward without repining but with a reverential respect 
for the past. 10 

8 Hendricks, "Training of an American," 168. See also the "Mummy 
Letters," ibid., 176-189, and Nicholas Worth (pseud, for W. H. Page) "The 
Southerner" (New York, 1909). 

9 Wilson, op. cit. f 57. 

10 W. H. Page, "Story of an Old Southern Borough," Atlantic, XLVII 
(1881), 658. 


Yet there was a distinction in the experiences of the two 
generations which set them apart and prevented complete 
understanding. Old and new alike had known impoverish- 
ment and sacrifice, stinting economy and relentless toil, fear 
of race conflict and the humiliation of Reconstruction. But 
to one the trials and discipline had come in the evening of 
life after a full day of sunshine and laughter. To the other 
there had never been a sunrise. Life itself had begun in dark- 
ness. The older generation was warmed by the mellow recol- 
lection of the past. But tales of departed grandeur could 
only arouse the younger into restless yearning for a better 
life of its own. "The elders had had their day/ 7 wrote one 
of the growing generation, "and had had acquaintance with 
achievement and sadness and defeat." Youth now demanded 
the right to live unencumbered by the legacies which chained 
their parents to the past. 11 

Another distinction between the generations was to be found 
in the origin and training of their leaders. Men to the gentry 
born had for the most part been accepted as the natural 
spokesmen of the Old South. Men of the same class, Curry 
and Lamar, Hampton and Johnston, had assumed the direc- 
tion of the South's first adjustment to the new way of life. 
But birth, privilege, gentility of training, were of little aid 
in climbing the steep and rocky path that lay before the young 
men growing up. Sturdiness of fiber, persistence of morale, 
and quickness of wit became the necessary equipment for lead- 
ership. The new men who began to emerge at the top in the 
eighties revealed a background somewhat novel in the annals 
of the South. Their life stories were told in anecdotes which 
duplicated the "success pattern" so familiar to the North and 
West. It seemed to Henry Watterson as though a Yankeedom 
had" arisen from within the South, with every Southerner 
emulating traits which the Old South would have contemptu- 
ously associated with shop-keepers. 12 

Even Horatio Alger could not have improved upon the 

11 E. A. Alderman, /. L. M. Curry: A Memorial Address (pamphlet, 
Brooklyn, 1902), 9-10. 

12 Henry Watterson, "Oddities of Southern Life," Century. XXIII 
(1883), 895. 


story of Joel Chandler Harris's rise from obscure poverty to 
fame as "Uncle Remus/' 1S The epic of Charles D. Mclver, 
who began his teaching career in 1881, was that of the raw, 
eager, and resolute country boy, who, working his way through 
college, found a broader life, the benefits of which he hence- 
forth sought to give to others. 14 The anecdote of his boyhood 
most repeated by Charles B. Aycock, one day to be known 
as the "Education Governor" of North Carolina, was the 
impression he received when seeing his mother make her 
mark when signing a deed. 15 The career of Booker T. Wash- 
ington, who in 1 88 1 founded the great New South insti- 
tution at Tuskegee, was a narrative of overcoming obstacles, 
discouragements and temptations, the most colorful incident 
of which was the poor boy sleeping under a board side- 
walk to save pennies that might be devoted to his educa- 
tion. 16 

Inevitably the gentler attributes of aristocratic leadership 
disappeared. "The very life which made them possible is 
gone/' wrote Watterson. 17 Crude energy and calculating 
shrewdness were more essential to the new age. Here and 
there a scion of the gentry, like Thomas Nelson Page, achieved 
prominence without seemingly to depart from the tradition. 
But more frequently, as in the cases of Tompkins and Grady, 
birth on a plantation or education in a university did not 
remove the necessity .of "paddling one's own canoe." If lead- 
ers furnished by the gentry donned the appurtenances of 
"self-made men," it was even more true of the larger number 
who emerged from the farming and merchant classes into 
positions of prominence. 18 Struggle for material achievement, 
whether it was to gain wealth, build a factory, or plant a 
school, was the major characteristic of the new leadership. 
Success was measured largely in terms of the extent to which 

13 Julia Collier Harris, "The Life and Letters of Joel Chandler Harris" 
(Boston, 1918), chs. i-ix. 

14 E. A. Alderman, "Charles D. Mclver of North Carolina," Sewanee 
Review, XV (1907), 100-110. 

15 R. D. W. Connor and C. Poe, "The Life and Speeches of Charles 
Brantley Aycock" (Garden City, 1912), 7. 

16 B. T. Washington, "Up from Slavery" (New York, 1901), chs. i-iii. 

17 Watterson, op. tit, 895. 

18 A. M. Schlesinger, "The Rise of the City," 1878-1898 (New York, 
1933), IS- 


the individual beat down and escaped the menace of poverty. 
If such efforts narrowed the spirit and sharpened the acquisi- 
tive traits, it must also be apparent that they required a rug- 
gedness of moral force few people have ever surpassed. If life 
in the New South seemed less pleasant, there was in compen- 
sation a strength of character not unworthy of a section which 
had produced the Washington of Valley Forge and the Lee of 

It was inspiring to see the spirit of youth rise triumphant 
over the primitive postwar conditions of the South and to re- 
place the "mournful threnodies" of Father Ryan's "Con- 
quered Banner" with songs of hope. 19 The older generation 
might beget the creed, but it remained for youth to contribute 
the faith and optimism that made the conception of a "New 
South" a positive agency for change. It was youth which read 
into the many inadequacies in Southern life not defeat but op- 
portunity. "The South" wrote Woodrow Wilson in 1881, "has 
just begun to grow. . . . There appear to be no limits to the 
possibilities of her development; and I think that to grow up 
with a new section is no small advantage to one who seeks to 
gain position and influence." 20 

The voice of ambition was heard again in the early eighties 
as a reviving prosperity seemed to spread over the South. The 
day of narrow, local prejudice had passed away, noted one ob- 
server, "and we are now about to enter on the career of prog- 
ress which ought to have commenced half a century ago, but 
which we believe will now advance with accelerated speed." 21 
The New South was more than the sum total of changes that 
the war had effected. Its spirit was one of optimism, a belief 
in progress, a faith in Southerners. If this proceeded from 
purely Southern conditions, it was an expression of those 
traits in Southern character which most nearly approximated 
the attributes of Northern and Western life and lay basic in 
the American character. 

The new spirit and the new energy found complete expression 

19 Alderman, as quoted in Connor and Poe, "Aycock," 22. 

20 R. S. Baker, "Woodrow Wilson, Life and Letters" (New York, 1927), 
I. J 43. 

21 A. H. H. Stuart, "Facts Worth Thinking About," Virginias, II 
(1881), 51. 


in the industrial transformation of certain areas of the South 
during the decade of the eighties. So rapidly did manufactures 
develop that it seemed as though the South was undergoing a 
complete economic revolution. Yet the roots of the movement 
rested deep in the Southern past. For at least half a century 
before 1880 the obvious advantages the South possessed in raw 
materials, water power, and potential labor had been fully 
known. Individuals had ventured profitably in cotton, iron, and 
tobacco manufactures, and a powerful propaganda had been 
urged to demonstrate the advantages of adding a partial indus- 
trialization to complement Southern agriculture. If first the 
slave economy and then the impoverishment and disorder of 
Reconstruction had operated as impediments, the one was de- 
stroyed by the war and the other proved to be not an unmixed 
evil. Mills had been rebuilt, and, even in the darkest days of 
Reconstruction, made profits large enough to discharge indebt- 
edness and still yield dividends which in certain instances 
amounted to twenty-five per cent, and more. 22 By the early 
seventies the South had recovered all that it had possessed in- 
dustrially in 1860. 

Meanwhile the altered life of the postwar South revealed 
conditions far more favorable to factory expansion than had 
previously existed. The influence of the war blockade in demon- 
strating the section's lack of self-sufficiency, and the overthrow 
of the planting aristocracy made popular the propaganda of 
diversification and weakened the appeal that agriculture once 
had exercised as a road to wealth and social prominence. Where 
planters had formerly reinvested profits in land and slaves, the 
merchants and farmers who made money in the new regime 
could be tempted to place some of their savings in manufactures, 
and even, if they were ambitious, to launch forth on new careers 
as industrialists themselves. The recovery of political self-rule 
gave added confidence, as well as removed the necessity of de- 
voting energy to politics. Even more important was the grow- 
ing conviction that the South might win back industrially the 
pride it had lost on the field of battle. No sweeter revenge sug- 

22 Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Nov. 4, 1871 ; King, "Great 
South," 472; E. Armes, "The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama" (Birm- 
ingham, 1910), ch. xiv. 


gested itself to Southerners than that of beating the North in 
the arena where the latter had always claimed supremacy. 23 

Favorable as the situation was becoming, the actual develop- 
ment of Southern manufactures by 1880 was modest indeed in 
comparison with the tremendous strides the North was taking. 
The eighties, however, witnessed a growth so remarkable that 
all the ancient prejudices and lingering doubts were swept 
aside. The number of factories, furnaces, and forges multi- 
plied, giving the South again something to boast about. By 
1890 a firm and permanent basis for a variety of manufactures 
was established, and the wealth and prosperity of Dixie no 
longer depended solely upon agriculture. It proceeded from a 
more diversified economy. 

The pace of development was sensationally rapid, dazzling 
the imagination, and stimulating the enthusiasm of the be- 
lievers in the new order. A feebly established, dispersed, and 
antiquated iron industry was modernized, centralized in nat- 
ural areas, and tremendously expanded. The amount of South- 
ern pig iron increased from less than four hundred thousand 
tons in 1880 to more than one million seven hundred thousand 
in 1890. Even more impressive to the Southern mind was the 
growth of cotton mills. The number of spindles trebled in the 
ten year period from slightly more than five hundred thou- 
sand to one million six hundred thousand. Not to be outdone by 
its rival staple, the tobacco plant yielded increased profits by a 
fifty per cent, growth of manufactures, featured by the ap- 
pearance of larger plants and the mechanization of cigarette 
making. The eighties also witnessed the development of a num- 
ber of lesser industries. Charleston had a momentary boom in 
exploiting newly discovered beds of phosphate rock for the 
manufacture of fertilizer. Hitherto discarded cotton hulks were 
also made to yield fertilizer, while the cotton seed was found 
to be a source of wealth by conversion into a marketable oil for 
cooking. The amount of timber taken from Southern forests 
more than doubled between 1880 and 1890, giving the South 
first rank as a source of the nation's lumber supply, besides 
making freight for Southern railroads, and here and there, as 

23 Broadus Mitchell, "Rise of the Cotton Mills in the South" (Baltimore, 
1921), 90. 


at High Point, North Carolina, giving rise to a manufacture 
of furniture. As new beds of coal were opened, the Southern 
production increased from six million tons in 1880 to twenty- 
two in 1890. Keeping pace with the industrial development was 
the continued extension and consolidation of the Southern rail- 
road system. The twenty thousand miles of new track laid be- 
tween 1880 and 1890 approximately doubled the total mileage. 24 

Southerners hailed this triumph of enterprise as the greatest 
achievement of the New South. It inspired confidence and 
generated pride. Especially was it gratifying to boast that the 
great industrial progress was the result of Southern resources, 
capital, and leadership. The entire impulse was Southern in its 
origin. The cotton mill campaign was waged in the face of 
Northern predictions of its failure. The energy which de- 
veloped Birmingham and Chattanooga and modernized the 
iron industry in Virginia was almost exclusively native born. 
Nor did the South depend on outside agencies for raw ma- 
terial or labor. All that it needed in the way of cotton, tobacco, 
lumber, coal, and iron was found in its own fields or mines. 
Its labor was drawn from its own farms and mountain coves. 
So far as energy, labor, and raw materials were concerned, the 
South alone deserves the credit or blame for bringing factory, 
mill, and furnace into its agricultural domain. 

It is also probably true that the South furnished the greater 
portion of the capital which financed the industrialization of 
the eighties. Nevertheless important qualifications must be 
made to this generalization. Southern sentiment remained dis- 
tinctly friendly toward welcoming investments from the North. 

24 Eleventh Census, 1890, Manufactures, Selected Industries; Edmonds 
in the Manufacturers' Record gave much space to Southern development, al- 
though some allowance should be made for his enthusiasm which led to ex- 
aggeration. Statistics in the Com. and Fin. Chron. for current movements 
were also larger than the Census figures, but these were always corrected in 
later issues. The best secondary accounts are Mitchell, "Cotton Mills"; 
Armes, "Coal and Iron"; J. C Ballagh (ed.), "Economic History of the 
South," in vol. vi of "The South in the Building of the Nation" (Rich- 
mond, 1909) ; P. A. Bruce, "The Rise of the New South" (Philadelphia, 
1905) ; and M. Jacobstein, "The Tobacco Industry in the United States" 
(New York, 1907). See also B. W. Arnold, "History of the Tobacco In- 
dustry in Virginia from 1860 to 1894" (Baltimore, 1897) ; A. Kohn, "The 
Cotton Mills of South Carolina" (Columbia, 1907) ; S. D. Lee, "The South 
since the War," Confederate Military History (Atlanta, 1899), XII; and 
H. Thompson, "From Cotton Field to Cotton Mill" (New York, 1906). 


Henry W. Grady expressed the prevailing opinion when he 
said that the South had hung out the latchstring and hoped the 
North would freely enter. The Charleston News and Courier, 
the Manufacturers' Record, and the Virginias Magazine ac- 
tively solicited Northern capital, and reported a generous move- 
ment of money from the North to the South. 25 But no one 
seems ever to have gone beyond vague expressions of opinion 
into a presentation of concrete evidence. 

The North, as has been noted, felt no hesitance in investing 
in Southern railways. The extension of the eighties was financed 
by Northern banking houses in the same manner as that of 
the seventies. By 1882 it could be said that a few great syndi- 
cates, located chiefly in New York and Philadelphia and repre- 
senting Northern and English capital, controlled most of the 
railways of the South, and this fact became increasingly true 
as the tendency was toward ever greater combination and in- 
tegration. 26 Investments in railroads led naturally to an inter- 
est in a general development of the section in which the lines 
were located. 

Nowhere was this better illustrated than in the development 
of the coal and iron industry of Virginia and West Virginia. 
Southern enterprise supported by Northern capital provided 
the transportation facilities by creating the two great systems, 
the Chesapeake and Ohio and the Norfolk and Western, which 
opened the region and gave it access to national markets. But 
the field of investment widened far beyond the financing of 
railroads. Coal lands and mineral beds were purchased and de- 
veloped. Old furnaces were modernized and new ones con- 
structed. Rolling mills, nail works, and foundries were estab- 
lished. Especially active in this financing were A. A. Low, of 
New York, George W. Perkins, of New York, Theodore 
Dwight, of Philadelphia, Samuel Coit, of Hartford, Connecti- 
cut, and H. C. Frick, of Pittsburgh. Such important properties 
as the Clyde syndicate, the Crimmora manganese mines, the 
Pocahontas mines, the Shenandoah iron works, the Lowmoor 
iron works, the New Castle slate quarries, the Old Dominion 

25 Charleston News and Courier, March 14, 1881 ; Manufacturers' Rec- 
ord, July I, 1882; Virginias, I (1880), 1-15, II (1881), 109, V (1884), 27. 

26 Manufacturers' Record, March 18, 1882. 


Land Company which developed properties along the route 
of the Chesapeake and Ohio and built up the city of Newport 
News, the James River Steel Manufacturing and Mining Com- 
pany, the Fayette Coal and Coke Company, the Coral Marble 
Company, the Holston Salt Works, the Great Kanawha Coal 
Company, and the Virginia Beach development were all proj- 
ects financed by Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and 
other Northern capital. 27 The economic life of Virginia was 
not only invigorated, but the industrial future of the State was 
linked with business interests resident in the North. 

The capital as well as the enterprise which carried Chatta- 
nooga and Birmingham through the precarious period of be- 
ginnings was more largely Southern in origin. Nevertheless 
some of the pioneers like W. S. McElwain secured capital from 
the North as early as 1865 to reconstruct furnaces destroyed 
in the war. Moreover individual Northerners made important 
contributions both in management and finance. General John 
T. Wilder, of Ohio, who first learned of the possibilities of 
Chattanooga in 1863 while campaigning in the Union army, 
established in 1867 what was then the largest iron works in 
the district with capital raised in Ohio and Indiana. Likewise 
David Thomas, a veteran of the Pennsylvania field, with his 
son Samuel and grandson Edwin, removed to Alabama in the 
late sixties, and cooperated with natives in initiating under- 
takings which later proved significant. Even more outstanding 
was Truman H. Aldrich, of New York, who, entering the 
Birmingham district in 1872 with Northern capital, joined his 
energies and resources with the Alabamans, Sloss and De 
Bardeleben, to become with them the key men of the industry. 
When the period of expansion and combination came in the 
years around 1886 and 1887, the Birmingham-Chattanooga 
area had so demonstrated its ability to produce pig iron profit- 
ably that the great promotions of De Bardeleben and Aldrich 
were readily financed by Northern bankers. In the same period 
(1886) the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company ac- 
quired its first properties in Birmingham, initiating a policy of 
expansion which in the nineties would lead to a complete ab- 
sorption of Southern iron and steel into a national integration. 

** Virginias, I-VI (1880-1885), passim. 


Even before this occurred, however, the Southern producers 
realized that the major portion of their iron must be marketed 
outside the area. The middle eighties saw an increasing tonnage 
passing through Birmingham and Chattanooga to the North 
and West. 28 

Northern capital was far more reluctant to give support to 
the building of cotton mills in the South. In fact, the established 
textile manufacturers of New England did much at the start 
in spreading the impression that Southern mills could not op- 
erate with profit. 29 Occasionally direct solicitation for Northern 
capital met with success, as was true in the case of the Granite- 
ville, South Carolina, factory which in 1867 was reorganized 
and expanded with Northern money. 30 But in the large majority 
of cases the promoter had to rely upon domestic resources. 

The result was that the cotton mills were financed through 
appeals to local patriotism. Campaigns were waged to enlist 
every community interest in support of the new enterprise. 
Village merchants were convinced that a, factory population 
would increase the demand for their goods. Preachers were 
told that labor for idle hands would encourage sobriety and 
thrift. Local bankers were led to expect an increase in savings 
deposits. Farmers were told that the mills would consume their 
cotton, the factory hands would buy their food crops, and their 
wives and children find employment in the mills. If appeals to 
interest failed, pride was stimulated by slogans which urged 
the men of Dixie to gain industrial emancipation from the 
Yankees. The promoters were also favored by the change of 
attitude, already noted, which had convinced Southerners that 
economic redemption depended upon an extension of manu- 
factures. The varied sources of the movement were woven to- 
gether in a fervent crusade to "bring the cotton mill to the cot- 
ton field." In such a manner it was possible to scrape together 
the small savings of many investors, and the mill thus became 
a reservoir of local savings and a symbol of community prog- 
ress, as well as a purely business enterprise. 

^Armes, "Coal and Iron," 196-197, 212, 266-274, 332, 339-349, 361-362; 
King, "Great South," 212. 

29 See as typical, Edward Atkinson, Address Given in Atlanta, Georgia, 
in October, 1880 (pamphlet, Boston, 1881). 

80 Kohn, "Cotton Mills of South Carolina," 19. 


It remains to be pointed out, however, that local capital thus 
painfully collected was supplemented by important contribu- 
tions from Northern sources. Northern manufacturers of mill 
machinery usually accepted stock in the mills they equipped in 
part payment of the machinery purchased from them. North- 
ern commission houses also purchased stock, and contributed 
cash for working capital, in return for the privilege of market- 
ing the output. A real integration of interest wias thus estab- 
lished. The commission houses were located almost completely 
in Philadelphia and New York. The market for the Southern 
product therefore lay outside the section. If the Southern fac- 
tory owner was interested in making a profitable Northern 
connection, it was equally in the interest of the commission 
house to do all th'at it could to make prosperous the mill whose 
goods it marketed. 

The Southern mills during the eighties specialized in the 
manufacture of coarse yarn and cloth. Almost from the start 
the majority of the mills, favored by local enthusiasm, a cheap 
and amenable labor force, efficient new machinery, and low cost 
water power, made net profits which frequently reached from 
forty to sixty per cent, and averaged around fifteen. It was then 
that New England spinners began to show an interest in the 
Southern field. Branch mills to manufacture the co'arser prod- 
ucts were acquired in the late eighties by several established 
New England corporations. 81 Possibly the first migration of an 
entire cotton mill from North to South occurred in 1889, when 
the Providence, Rhode Island, firm of Lockwood, Greene, and 
Company closed their Newburyport, Massachusetts, mills and 
moved the machinery to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Within 
the next decade this firm was to build mills that added two 
million spindles to the South, more than the entire section had 
possessed when the migration began. 32 

It seems a paradox that the South became more nationally 
minded in direct ratio to the extent it achieved a degree of in- 

31 The Dwight Manufacturing Company, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, es- 
tablished a profitable branch at Alabama City, Alabama, while the Goff in- 
terests, which had mills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, purchased the 
Riverside Mills of Augusta, Georgia, in 1887. "Lamb's Textiles," II, 47* 

"Lamb's Textiles," I, 339-340- 


dustrial self -sufficiency. In the ante-bellum South the lack of 
diversification had generated sectional animosity. The new age 
was premised upon a conviction that material prosperity and 
sectional harmony went hand in hand. The business brains, 
capital, and technology of North and South found a community 
of interest politicians had never known. It seemed as though 
a vast wall of misunderstanding had fallen, destroying the isola- 
tion of the earlier years. 

The industrial expansion appeared all the more revolutionary 
because it was concentrated in well-defined areas. The iron in- 
dustry was localized in two centers, the Virginias and the 
Birmingham-Chattanooga district. Cotton mills clustered in a 
belt that followed the Piedmont crescent through the Caro- 
linas into Georgia and Alabama. Tobacco manufactures were 
restricted largely to cities like Richmond, Durham, and Louis- 
ville, in the three states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Ken- 
tucky. The economic life of such regions was completely al- 
tered. But in contrast the greater portion of the South remained 
the most rural part of the United States, seemingly unaffected 
by the vigor and prosperity of the changing order. The growth 
of manufactures made no appreciable conquest upon the domi- 
nant hold agriculture exercised upon the South, although for 
the moment it was the booming, confident voice of the busi- 
ness man which sang the paeans to a New South. The coming of 
industry to the South did, however, disrupt the section's eco- 
nomic unity. A divided Dixie would prove a weaker resistant 
to the advancing forces of nationalism. 

One of the newer formative influences which accompanied 
the expansion of manufactures was the growth in urban popu- 
lation. In certain instances the development of manufactures 
acted directly to create new cities or to multiply the inhabitants 
of others. This was notably true of Birmingham, the site of 
which was a cotton field in 1869, and which grew from three 
thousand in 1880 to twenty-six thousand in 1890. Durham, 
North Carolina, was converted from an insignificant village 
into a thriving center of tobacco manufactures. Older cities like 
Chattanooga, which increased one hundred and fifty per cent, 
in the eighties, and Richmond, which witnessed a twin develop- 
ment of iron and tobacco, were remade into boom cities of the 
New South. Columbia, South Carolina, "rose from her ashes" 


to exclaim, during her centennial celebration in 1891, that 
prosperity had dried all her tears. Norfolk was greatly invig- 
orated by the industrial development of the Virginias, while 
an adjacent tidewater plantation was converted into the city of 
Newport News by the hand of Collis P. Huntington, who there 
developed one of the greatest shipyards in the United States. 
More typical than the larger cities, however, especially in the 
cotton mill belt, were a number of smaller places like Lynch- 
burg, Virginia, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Greenville, 
South Carolina. Such a town had within its limits a cluster of 
mills or furnaces, but its life was composed mainly of the ac- 
tivities of merchants, bankers, and professional men who served 
the needs of the neighboring villages and farms. 83 

The extension of the railway system into all parts of the 
South likewise fostered the rise of cities. Richmond, served by 
the Chesapeake and Ohio, the Atlantic Coast Line, the Sea- 
board Air Line, and the Southern Railway, became an impor- 
tant distributing center of the Upper South. West of the Al- 
leghenies, Louisville, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis felt 
the same invigorating tonic and grew rapidly in population and 

Most energetic and alert of the new cities was Atlanta, which 
grew from thirty-seven thousand to sixty-five thousand in the 
ten-year period. Favorably situated and admirably served by a 
network of railways, the Georgia capital forged ahead as the 
chief distributing center of the Southeast. To observers there 
seemed little of the Old South about it. Many described it as a 
Southern Chicago. 34 But the model city which all Atlantans 
hoped to pattern after was New York. Actually Atlanta was 
"a new, vigorous, awkwardly alert city, . . . modern and tin- 
romantic/' with much of the crude energy and soaring ambi- 
tion typical of the Middle West in the same period. 36 If Atlanta 
epitomized the spirit of the New South, it was still, in spite of 

38 Eleventh Census, 1890, Population, 379-380; W. K. Boyd, "Story of 
Durham" (Durham, 1925); Bruce, "The New South," 222; Proceedings of 
the Centennial Celebration of Columbia, S. C. (Columbia, 1891). 

34 A. K. McClure, "The South" (Philadelphia, 1886), 58-60; Ernest 
Ingersoll, "The City of Atlanta," Harper's Monthly Magazine, LX (1879), 
30-43; H. M. Field, "Bright Skies and Dark Shadows" (New York, 1890), 

35 King, "The Great South," 350; M. J. Verdery, "The New South," 
North American Review, CXLIV (1887), 117. 


its proud pretense of being a metropolis, like Chattanooga and 
Birmingham, little more than an overgrown town. Nor could 
it claim to be as typical of the section as the sleepy cotton markets 
like Augusta, Savannah, and Mobile, "whose growth, if they 
have any, is imperceptible, and whose pulse beats with only a 
faint flutter." 36 

Yet these new cities were dynamos generating energy to beat 
against the inertia of the old traditions. They fostered, for 
one thing, newspapers whose editors were imbued with the 
restless spirit of progress. Dawson had already shown what a 
brilliant and courageous journalist could do even when sur- 
rounded by the mellowed traditions of Charleston. Until his 
death in 1889 he continued to fight hard for the industrial 
awakening of the South. Likewise the old city of Mobile 
sheltered the Register y edited by John Forsyth, a Georgian born 
in 1853, which pleaded for a united nation, progressive in- 
dustry, and agricultural diversification. In Louisville the re- 
doubtable "Marse" Henry Watterson made the Courier Jour- 
nal an influential newspaper which was accepted in the North 
as an oracle of Southern opinion. D. A. Tompkins purchased 
the Charlotte Observer and placed in its editorial sanctum 
Joseph P. Caldwell, a man who spoke the language of indus- 
trialism. But again it was Atlanta which took the leadership. 
The Atlanta Constitution, edited by Henry W. Grady and Joel 
Chandler Harris, both young men of the New South, rose to 
primacy as the South's leading advocate of business enterprise 
and of friendship with the North. 37 

Whether or not this journalism accomplished much in pene- 
trating the rural aloofness of the South, it did reveal anew that 
the young men rising to leadership were governed by the de- 
sire to harmonize Southern regionalism and American na- 
tionalism. Possibly the chief influence of their activity was to 
advertise a New South of progress and reconciliation. No 
concept was more often transmitted to the North in the eighties 
than that the South had buried its resentments and had entered 

86 Ingersoll, op. cit., 33. 

87 J. C. Harris, "Life, Writings, and Speeches of Henry W. Grady" (New 
York, 1890) ; Julia Collier Harris, "Joel Chandler Harris, Editor and Es- 
sayist" (Chapel Hill, 1931). 


a new era of good feeling based upon an integration of material 

Contributing greatly to the spread of this propaganda was 
a series of expositions held in Southern cities during the dec- 
ade. Atlanta held an International Cotton Exposition in 1881, 
Louisville a Southern Exposition in 1883, New Orleans a 
Cotton Centennial Exposition in 1885, and Richmond an Ex- 
position in i888. 38 The motive for these displays was to remedy 
the inadequate representation of Southern industry in the 
Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876, to advertise Southern re- 
sources, and to demonstrate the national patriotism of the 
New South. 

The expositions were built upon a generous cooperation of 
North and South. Northern manufacturers willingly sent their 
fabrics and machinery to Atlanta and New Orleans to com- 
plement the Southern displays. General Sherman contributed 
two thousand dollars to the former exposition to begin a lib- 
eral subscription raised in the North. Congress appropriated 
a million dollars to the general fund of the New Orleans Ex- 
position and an additional three hundred thousand dollars for 
a national exhibit. Northern States likewise took prominent 
parts in displaying their resources, contributing their share 
to establishing a sentiment of friendliness between the sections. 
The usual fraternizing of individuals representing Union and 
Confederate backgrounds occurred, and the "late unpleasant- 
ness" was interred beneath the oratory of reconciliation. There 
was little new in these felicitations, not even the many naive 
assertions that "now, at last, we are one country." But it does 
seem true, as the editor of Harper's Weekly observed, that the 
"pocket nerve" was more intimately affected, and that "men 
do not easily quarrel who are engaged in prosperous business 
one with another." 39 

38 Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia (1881), 260-271; (1883), 464-465; 
(1884), 573-579; Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Jan. 7, 1882; Cen- 
tury, XXIII (1882), 563-574, XXX (1885), 3-I4J Lippincott's XXXIV 
(1885), 275-285, 408-417; Harper's Weekly, Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 1885. 

39 Charleston News and Courier, May 3, 1881 ; Appletons* Annual Cyclo- 
pedia ( 1884) , 574 ; B. E. Mahan, "Iowa at the New Orleans Fair," Palimp- 
sest, VI (1925), 77-94; Maud Howe Elliott, "Three Generations," 204- 
216; Harper's Weekly, Aug. 4, 1883; R. Brinkerhoff, "Recollections of a 
Life Time" (Cincinnati, 1900), 281-284. 


The note of optimism struck by the boosters and builders of 
the New South met a cordial response in the North. Edward 
Atkinson, a distinguished New England cotton economist, 
who expressed skepticism in regard to Southern success in 
textile manufacturing and attempted to discourage the cotton 
mill campaign, nevertheless believed that a closer union should 
be established between the business interests of the North and 
South, and worked persistently through speeches, magazine 
articles, and personal contacts to establish a greater cordiality 
of sentiment. The keynote of his message was stated in an 
article published in the International Review for March 1881. 

The old "Solid South*' of slavery and Bourbonism is dead. A 
new South is rising from the ashes, eager to keep step with the 
North in the onward march of the Solid Nation. 

It is significant that Atkinson, in spite of his hostility to South- 
ern textile manufactures, always received a hearty welcome in 
the South, especially at Atlanta. 40 

It was this note which became the dominant theme in the 
Northern reporting of the South during the eighties. The out- 
put was far greater in quantity than that of the seventies, but 
it was not so high in quality. Enthusiasm took the place of 
scholarship, while boosting seemed more in vogue than analysis. 
Actually there was little new that could be said in description 
of the South that had not been said by King and Nordhoff. 
But every newspaper and periodical felt it necessary to send 
correspondents into the section on annual tours of observation, 
while politicians and industrialists as well as casual observers 
rushed into print to tell again the familiar story. 

The reporter who achieved the greatest fame in this respect 
in the eighties was J. B. Harrison, whose letters, first printed 
in the New York Tribune in 1881, were repeated with little 
change in the Atlantic Monthly, and republished in a widely 
disseminated pamphlet. 41 The North uncritically accepted Har- 
rison's book as the best account of the South since Olmsted 

^Edward Atkinson, "The Solid South?", International Review (1881), 
197-209. See also H. F. Williamson, "Edward Atkinson" (Boston, 1934). 

41 "Glimpses of a New Dixie," Tribune Extra No. 81; "Studies of the 
South," Atlantic, XLIX-LI (1882-1883), serially in eleven instalments. 


certainly an undeserved encomium while Joel Chandler 
Harris hailed it as the most just and impartial record of obser- 
vation since the war. 42 Harrison, in fact, traversed familiar 
ground. But he did present effectively, through the columns of 
a great Northern newspaper and a staunch Yankee periodical, 
a popular narrative which portrayed a reconciled South, in- 
different to partisan controversy, and devoting its strength to 
work, education, and the improvement of race relations. 

Carl Schurz likewise repeated the sterotyped pattern in a 
book published in 1885 with the now hackneyed title of 'The 
New South." But because of the prominence of its author, and 
the fact that Schurz's report on Southern conditions twenty 
years earlier had been a mainstay of Radicalism, the book is 
worthy of comment. In a sense Schurz was merely justifying 
his recent political career as a Liberal Republican and a re- 
former in the Hayes administration when he described a 
South "as loyal to the Union as the people of any part of the 
country"; one that was quietly solving its race problem, and 
developing its resources in harmony with "a great, strong, 
prosperous, and united country/' Schurz even justified the 
affection Southerners entertained for Jefferson Davis, and ex- 
plained how natural and proper it was for the section to elect 
to high office its former Confederate leaders. 43 

The prolific pen of Charles Dudley Warner, a writer much 
in vogue in the North, produced a book of "Studies in the 
South and West." Warner, too, discovered "that the war is 
over in spirit as well as in deed," and that "the thoughts of the 
people are not upon . . . the past at all, . . . but upon the 
future, upon business, upon a revival of trade, upon education, 
and adjustment to the new state of things." ** Periodicals and 
newspapers reiterated the observation until it seemed as though 
every one with literary or journalistic aspirations had made a 
friendly raid or two into the South. Even casual tourists, un- 
blessed by brains or insight, but prompted perhaps with the 
pious hope of doing their bit in the swelling chorus of recon- 

42 Atlanta Constitution, March 14, 1883. 

43 Carl Schurz, "The New South" (New York, 1885), 14, 15, 18, 29, 30. 

44 C. D. Warner, "Studies in the South and West" (New York, 1889). 
Some of the chapters of this book had appeared earlier in Harper's Monthly , 
LXXI (1885), 546-551*, LXXIV (1887), 186-206, 334-354, 634-640. 


ciliation, added their observations. Some seemed surprised to 
find that hotels in Mobile had gas, electric bells, and Grand 
Rapids furniture just "as though they might have been trans- 
planted from New York." 45 Others became lyrical in relating 
the heroism displayed by Southerners in rebuilding shattered 
fortunes at a time when "Great heavens! what injustice we 
[Northerners] had been doing them!" 46 

The oracle of the commonplace, however, seems to have 
been an English gentlewoman. Lady Duff us Hardy, who pub- 
lished her "Down South" in 1883, must have worn glasses 
deeply colored in the propaganda of the day. Her eyes could 
recognize not "a single feature of its ancient self" in the South. 
She believed that Northern capital had rehabilitated the sec- 
tion, and that "upon the ruins of a dead past," Southerners 
had built a life "nobler, far nobler" than that of the "prideful 
days" before the war. 47 Among the notable conversions of the 
eighties it is gratifying and somewhat amusing to include the 
battle-scarred veteran of innumerable "bloody shirt" cam- 
paigns, Thomas Nast. A perusal of Harper's Weekly would 
reveal illustrations from this master cartoonist such as the one 
presenting "Industry, the Real Connecting Link," depicted as 
a cord of flowers uniting "South," uniformed in gray, and 
"North," wearing blue, before a sun labeled "patriotism and 
prosperity." This "looked like business" to Nast, as did "The 
Queen of Industry, or the New South," where a cotton loom 
rested upon a somewhat flattened and dismal-looking "arro- 
gant spirit of slavery." Nast attained the climax in an elaborate 
cover design, "On Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men," 
which commemorated the New Orleans Exposition where ap- 
parently business enterprise was accomplishing work usually 
associated with angels. 

Possibly the one new element in this reporting was the 
participation in it of business men and industrially minded 
politicians. Even before the Southerner R. H. Edmonds had 
apotheosized the industrial progress of the New South in "The 

45 Harper's Monthly, LXXV (1887), 5p8. 

4Q Ibid. f 438. See also Forum, I (1886), 150; Atlantic, LIII (1884), 

47 Lady Duffus Hardy, "Down South" (London, 1883), 15, 118-119, 


South's Redemption from Poverty to Prosperity," published 
in 1890, two Northerners, A. K. McClure and W. D. ('Tig 
Iron") Kelley, had anticipated all his choicest superlatives. 
McClure's "The South, Its Industrial, Financial, and Political 
Condition" (1886) was a panegyric of Southern achievement 
which sought to demonstrate how the growing business inter- 
course between the sections was hastening the restoration of 
fraternity and enlarging the prosperity of both sections. Kelley 
was purely and simply a booster who made the pages of his 
book, 'The Old South and the New" (1888), a vehicle of 
propaganda for industrialization. Yet these two books un- 
questionably reached the hands of some of the most powerful 
business men of the North, and possibly they were believed. 

Meanwhile prominent financiers and industrialists of the 
North, like Abram S. Hewitt, Edward Cooper, and Andrew 
Carnegie, made occasional visits to the South and published 
comments on their observations. Typical of this group was a 
letter written by a New York banker, Frederick Taylor, who 
stated in the Manufacturers' Record that "It seemed to me 
that we traveled through a continuous and unbroken strain 
of what has been aptly termed the music of progress the 
whir of the spindle, the buzz of the saw, the roar of the fur- 
nace, and the throb of the locomotive." 48 One wonders what 
had become of Olmsted's stretches of solitude, or Campbell's 
vast domains of agriculture, or Walter Hines Page's quiet 
villages. What Taylor saw, others saw, or at least it was prog- 
ress that they wrote about. And it is probably true that the 
North welcomed such reports, especially when it is remem- 
bered that news had once come from Atlanta, Richmond, and 
Chattanooga red with the blood of Union soldiers. 

Nevertheless the picture thus presented, much as it might 
have contributed to reconciliation, was a distortion. To many 
Southerners the increased friendliness evidenced in the re- 
porting was offset by frequent superficiality and over-simpli- 
fication which combined to create an image so grotesque as to 
be unacceptable. Even the most charitably disposed observers 
were clumsy in their efforts to avoid treading upon the many 
susceptibilities of Southern pride. Thus one writer seeking 

48 Edmonds, "The South's Redemption," 5- 


only to praise the achievement of former Confederates would 
write, "Their cause was wrong but their conduct was heroic," 49 
and then wonder why Southerners, who of course would be 
more inclined to debate the first half of the sentence than to 
accept the praise embodied in the second, put him in the cate- 
gory of those who did not understand the South. Nor can it be 
denied that a certain smug Pharisaism underlay much of the 
eulogizing. The North took immoderate pleasure in its as- 
sumption that the South was taking on Northern ways. South- 
erners sensed an implied slur upon their past, and, not quite 
knowing how to express the sentiment in words, constantly 
asserted that the North did not yet know the heart of Dixie. 

Consequently when a real grievance arose, the Southern 
press was prone to fall back into old habits and angrily protest 
against the "wild exploitation" of the South by "Northern 
hacks." 50 Such a cause for dissension was created when the 
Nation began a campaign to shame the South into doing some- 
thing about its large number of homicides. Even so friendly 
an advocate of the South as Scribner's Monthly joined in con- 
demning "these Southern murders ... as evidence of a 
lawlessness and a degraded civilization much more notable 
than anything that can be found among the Italian wilds and 
mountains." 51 The usual recriminations ensued. Southern 
newspapers rose as one in resentment of the "false witness." 
Possibly the South was too sensitive as to the honor of its 
civilization. But on the other hand it did seem as though the 
North was criticizing not a wrong in the South so much as it 
was attacking the South itself. Then too the Nation, especially 
when Godkin was under the full sail of reform, drew so near 
to God that normal folk felt an occasional irritation. In any 
case, editors North and South found they had stones in their 
hands as well as roses. The old bitterness broke out again, and 
unhappiest of all was the fact that, in spite of all the invective, 
no appreciable diminution occurred in the number of those 
unfortunates whose lawless departure from Southern life con- 
tinued to be an apparently inexhaustible source for debate. 

49 Forum, I (1886), 150. 
60 Atlanta Constitution, March 14, 1883. 
Monthly (1879), 306-307. 


Nevertheless, if occasionally a discordant note was struck, 
the orchestra of the eighties for the most part played in tune, 
and before the decade closed found its master conductor in 
the person of Henry W. Grady. On December 21, 1886, this 
thirty-six year old editor of the Atlanta Constitution addressed 
the New England Society of New York in New York City. 
He was not the first prominent Southerner to stand upon a 
Northern platform and plead for reconciliation. Nor did he 
have new ideas to offer. The content of his speech was a bundle 
of platitudes made trite by endless repetition. A "consecrated 
messenger of peace," he may well have been, but he certainly 
was not the first to get through the news that the "war was 
over" and that the erstwhile foes had learned to love each other. 
Nor was he the originator of the oratorical device of con- 
trasting Cavalier and Puritan, making, through the inscrutable 
workings of some historical mystery, an English and, it must 
be said, romantic background responsible for the American 
Civil War. He could not even claim primacy in his tribute to 
Lincoln, who was made to embody the virtues of both Cavalier 
and Puritan, thus becoming an American whom North and 
South alike could love. The North had heard before descrip- 
tions of the beauty of the Old South, and explanations of what 
the Reconstruction South had suffered, knowing full well that 
after the heartstrings were touched the orator would describe 
a New South hard at work, without repining, building a glori- 
ous future. Even when the climax was reached and Grady 
"fearlessly threw" himself upon the generosity of an "untested 
mercy of a Northern audience," it was readily to be expected 
from previous experiences that speaker and listeners, some in 
tears and others on their feet shouting, would find themselves 
united, in the conclusion, as fellow countrymen who knew and 
therefore loved each other. 

And so they did. Grady was met in Atlanta by a brass band, 
while North and South, East and West, the newspapers sent 
his eloquence reverberating through the land. 52 Something 

52 The speech is given in full in Harris, "Grady," 83-93. For editorial 
comment see Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 24, 1886; New York Tribune, 
Dec. 24, 1886; Public Opinion, II (1887), 235; Century, XXXIII (1887), 
807-808; Nation, Dec. 30, 1886; Harper's Weekly, Jan. 8, 1887; and Com- 
mercial and Financial Chronicle, Dec. 25, 1886. 


great had indeed occurred, but just what, it might be difficult 
to explain. Artistic as was the speech in its preparation, com- 
pletely as it answered every Northern apprehension, glowing 
as was its appeal to patriotic fervor, successfully as it justified 
the South while at the same time it flattered the North, daintily 
as it picked its way around possible pitfalls (as for example 
when it dismissed General Sherman as a "kind of careless man 
about fire"), it alone could not explain the apotheosis of Grady 
by North and South alike as the great spokesman of the latter 
and the reconciler of the former. 

Possibly it was the right word spoken at the right time, as 
the Seattle Post believed. Possibly it was the crescendo of 
emotion reaching its full volume of expression. But probably 
Joel Chandler Harris, Grady' s co-editor on the Constitution, 
found the true explanation when he wrote that Grady was 
the embodiment of the spirit of the New South. This brilliant 
young man, whose father had fallen in the service of the Con- 
federacy, whose position as editor of the South's leading 
newspaper had been won by energy, hard work, and zeal, was 
made to objectify the new life that had appeared in Dixie. 
The words that Grady uttered no longer seem important, even 
as the cotton mills and iron furnaces built in the eighties ap- 
pear somewhat dwarfed by the growth of later years. Like- 
wise Grady's work can be shown to be the legacy of an older 
South, as again was true of much of what the New South 
accomplished. But Grady's faith and Grady's optimism 
were a living fire peculiar to the New South he served. He 
became the recognized apostle of the new faith. The three 
years remaining of his life were devoted to the advance- 
ment of reconciliation and the economic upbuilding of the 

Grady died December 23, 1889, in the thirty-ninth year of 
his life. Three days earlier he had made his final plea for sec- 
tional harmony, dramatically enough from a Northern plat- 
form in the city of Boston. Fourteen days before that Jefferson 
Davis had drawn his last breath of life. The Old and the New 
thus stood in contrast. Out of the ruins the one had left, the 
other seemingly had erected a new life of promise, hope, and 
greatness. The young men growing up had made it easier for 


North and South, each cherishing different memories, to press 
forward in harmony to the ideal of a united nation. 

Two years after Grady's death the people of Atlanta erected 
a monument to his memory, on which was inscribed, "When 
he died he was literally loving a nation into peace." Whether 
this be more than sentiment or not, it had been demonstrated 
by 1890 that a son of the South could, under the new con- 
ditions of life, be at the same time a loyal Southerner and a 
loyal American. This in short was the contribution of the New 
South to American nationalism. And it was because the young 
men had grown up under the tutelage of their fathers that 
some essence of the older Dixie remained to enter into the 
pattern of emerging Americanism. 



IN the realm of literature even more than in the field of 
business the New South demonstrated its capacity to partici- 
pate completely in the life of the nation. American literature 
underwent important changes after the Civil War. The novels 
of domestic manners whose dreamy softness satisfied the 
taste of mid-century America went into the discard. The Civil 
War had been influential in broadening interest in American 
themes and in inspiring a buoyant pride in native life. Fiction 
became almost a matter of human geography, for the new 
writers seemed intent upon doing little more than describe in 
simple language the many local diversities of the national 
scene. "The everyday existence of the plain people," wrote a 
contemporary critic, "is the stuff of which literature is made." * 
There is little need for formal training in this type of com- 
position. What was essential was keenness in observing the 
provincial traits that were described, and a vigorous faith that 
the province was a part of the awakened nation. 

The South was admirably situated to participate in a prose 
fiction of local types and dialect. No section of America had 
such an abundance of picturesque detail. Local color was to 
be found in every corner of Dixie the romantic Creoles of 
Louisiana, the droll Crackers of middle Georgia, the many 
ranges of Negro character, the "contemporary ancestors" of 
the Appalachian Mountains, the rustic democrat, and the plan- 
tation gentry. Moreover these characters acted against a back- 
ground of rich and varied charm the bayous of the Mis- 
sissippi, the white fields of cotton, the humble cabin of the 
Negro or poor white, the shady verandah of the plantation 

1 Matthews, "Aspects of Fiction," 39. 


mansion, the impenetrable swamps of the lowlands, the sea 
islands off the coast, the mellow cities of the Old South, the 
secluded mountain vales, the deep rusticity of Georgia. There 
were currents and counter-currents in class and race relations 
that yielded humor or tragedy according to the whim of the 

There was also a background of history that offered amaz- 
ing contrasts of grandeur and pathos. "Here," wrote one of 
the authors, "cavalier and covenanter joined hands to resist 
the aggression of monarchy; here was a rampant and raging 
love of liberty existing side by side with human slavery ; here 
was to be found culture, refinement, learning, the highest ideals 
of character and conduct, the most exacting standards of 
honor in private and official life, and the most sensitive insist- 
ence on justice and right, all touching elbows with an igno- 
rance dense and barbarian. Here . . . were to be found aris- 
tocracy knocking about the country . . . arm in arm, hail- 
fellows well met. Here, too, was the hospitality, hearty, simple 
and unaffected, living next door to desperate feud." 2 There 
was, finally, the history of the Confederacy, preeminent among 
the "lost causes" of American history. A civilization fell with 
its defeat, and the contrast of a New South remembering the 
heroism of an old furnished an opportunity for pathos un- 
excelled in literature. It would have been "a miracle of stupid- 
ity," as one Southerner observed, "if, in the ... heyday of 
provincial literature the New South had missed [this] golden 
opportunity." 3 

Young men growing up without formal training for a lit- 
erary career were, nevertheless, well equipped by experience to 
work in a genre which required little more than that the author 
"should write spontaneously and simply about those things he 
is fullest of and best understands." 4 They set about to exploit 
the raw materials of fiction with much the same spirit that 
others of the same generation sought wealth in the undevel- 
oped economic resources of the South. Keenness of outlook 

2 J. C. Harris, introduction to Eickemeyer, "Down South" (New York, 

3 W. P. Trent, "Tendencies of Higher Life in the South," Atlantic. 
LXXIX (1897), 767. 

4 Matthews, "Aspects of Fiction," 39. 


and readiness to make the most of every contact were as char- 
acteristic of a writer like Harris as they were of a cotton mill 
builder like Tompkins. To upholders of the tradition of pre- 
war gentility there seemed an element of debasement in this 
dominant trait of the New South. Charges were advanced that 
the young men worshiped at the shrine of Mammon, that 
they were indifferent to the intellectual refinements of an ear- 
lier age, that they "lowered the flag of intellectual, moral, and 
refined supremacy," and that they bowed too readily to flattery 
from the North. 5 It was, therefore, something of a surprise 
that the homespun virtues of the New South should give to 
Dixie a body of literature which the gentility of the Old South 
had never yielded. 

The boast of William L. Yancey "Our poetry is our lives ; 
our fiction will come when truth has ceased to satisfy us; as 
for our history we have made about all that glorified the United 
States" should not be taken too seriously as representative 
of the attitude of the Old South. Novelists like Simrns, Ken- 
nedy, and Cooke, humorists like Longstreet, essayists like Wil- 
liam Wirt, and poets like Timrod and Poe were in no sense 
an insignificant contribution to American letters. Neverthe- 
less the South as a whole was an unproductive literary section 
before 1860, and slight patronage was extended to the few 
bold spirits who attempted to make a career by sole dependence 
upon their pens. The result was, as Thomas Nelson Page be- 
moaned, that "It was for a lack of literature that she [the 
South] was left behind in the great race for outside support, 
and that in the supreme moment of her existence she found 
herself arraigned at the bar of the world without an advocate 
and without a defense." * The New South was to remedy this 

The first preliminary to the triumph of Southern themes in 
American literature was the destruction of the conception in- 
herited from the antebellum days that Southern writers must 

5 C. C. Jones, Jr., Funeral^ Oration Pronounced in an Opera House in 
Augusta, Ga., Dec. n, 1889, in Honor of President Jefferson Davis (pam- 
phlet, Augusta, 1889). Jones, an outspoken critic of the New South, de- 
livered many such speeches and orations. 

6 T. N. Page, "The Old South" (New York, 1892), 50. Page was re- 
ferring to fiction. The Old South produced a superb body of polemic writing. 


produce a distinctive Southern literature. The chief output of 
the late sixties was inspired by the old spirit of Southern in- 
dependence. Thus Simms with a group of associates founded 
a periodical in Charleston entitled The Nineteenth Century as 
a vehicle of Southern thought, and Bledsoe established The 
Southern Review to carry on in letters the struggle which, for 
him at least, had not ended with Appomattox. Another vet- 
eran of the old school, John Esten Cooke, wrote many pages 
of novels and biographies of war experiences that were im- 
perfectly adjusted to the conception of a South within the 
American union. 7 Cooke illustrated the antagonism of his 
group toward the North and the Northern reading public when 
he exclaimed on July 4, 1870, "Grand humbug of celebrations! 
in which the South having no independence to celebrate 
takes no part ! Singular how completely we rebellious ones have 
come to despise the United States, their flag, and all concerning 
them." 8 

Yet it took a very brief period to demonstrate that Southern 
writers could not find in Dixie enough patronage to survive, 
and that unless Southern literature became sufficiently Ameri- 
can in tone to appeal to Northern readers there would be no 
Southern literature. Simms failed as thoroughly after 1865 
as he had before 1860 to interest Charlestonians in a native 
literature. Bledsoe exhausted his ire with the only result that 
his Review expired as a "journal of Southern opinion" and 
became an organ of the Methodist Church. Cooke, who antici- 
pated Thomas Nelson Page as an idealizer of the life of Old 
Virginia, sold very few of his novels and was so forgotten 
by 1880 that Page seemed to be working an unploughed field. 
So also the publication in 1871 of a Southern edition of 
"Dukesboro Tales" did nothing in rescuing Richard Malcolm 
Johnston from his obscurity as a writer. 

Through these transition years such poets as Paul Hamil- 
ton Hayne and Sidney Lanier received more sympathy and aid 
from Northern sources than from Southern. Even Cooke prob- 

7 "Surrey of Eagle's Nest" (1866), "Mohun" (1869), and biographies of 
Lee and Jackson. 

8 As quoted in J. O, Beatty, "J nn Esten Cooke" (New York, 1922), 



ably received more cash for writing an occasional column for 
the New York World than from the sale of his novels. It is 
not surprising, therefore, that rancor soon disappeared from 
the hearts of men who wished to devote their lives to literature. 
The writer had one of two alternatives. He could follow 
Bledsoe into the obscurity where restless pens still struggled 
with irreconcilable emotions. In such a case he would condemn 
himself to a lack of recognition. Nor would he ever achieve a 
position where his pen alone could win a livelihood. On the 
other hand he could follow the example of Hayne, who, cou- 
rageously turning his back on his native city of Charleston, 
sought the friendly seclusion of a rural cabin. There he strug- 
gled with poverty and, attuning his mind to the newer creed 
of reconciliation and nationalism, helped pave the way for the 
triumph of Southern letters in the eighties. 

The brief life of Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) bridged the 
transition and best exemplified the course that Southern liter- 
ature followed. Raised in the best Old South traditions, Lanier 
served the Confederacy in the war at the expense of shattered 
health, and then encountered adversity in Reconstruction so 
harsh as to justify his own statement that "pretty much the 
whole of life has been merely not dying." 9 Yet in "Tiger 
Lilies" (1867) he recognized the futility of the war, in "Corn" 
(1875) he argued against the tyranny King Cotton had exer- 
cised over the South, in the "Centennial Cantata" (1876) he 
espoused the doctrine of Americanism, and in an article for 
Scribner's Monthly on the New South (1880) he opened his 
mind to the brightness of the future. It was from Lanier and 
Hayne that the young men of the new school received the 
double legacy of respect for the tradition of Dixie and belief 
in the South as an integral part of the nation. 

Meanwhile the basic patterns of the later literature were 
being fixed. The work was done quietly and imperceptibly as 
here and there a short story or a poem unobtrusively found 
its way into a magazine such as Scribner's Monthly or Lippin- 
cotfs. The work seemed at first to be little more than re- 
porting. But gradually the jEamiliar types evolved and the basic 
plots took shape. 

9 Edwin Mims, "Sidney Lanier" (Boston, 1905), 67, 


Richard Malcolm Johnston takes high rank among these 
preliminary writers. His "Georgia Sketches" (1864) and 
"Dukesboro Tales" (1871) continued the portraiture of the 
Georgia Cracker started in the prewar years by Augustus B, 
Longstreet. Life in rural Georgia provided the local color 
and the dialect that the postwar conception o realism deemed 
essential. Johnston described a wholesome, simple, and demo- 
cratic republic of agriculture, rich in humor and sound in 
character. It was probably Johnston more than Harris who 
established the convention of considering middle Georgia the 
seat of a pure American folk homely in wit, neighborly in 
customs, and yet rustically independent in conduct harmoni- 
ous, certainly not inimical, to the Indiana Hoosier Edward 
Eggleston was contemporaneously introducing to the public. 

Possibly because of the praise liberally bestowed upon him 
by Harris and Page, Irwin Russell is usually credited with 
being the postwar discoverer of the Negro character in liter- 
ature. But before Russell, one could find in the corner of 
Scribner's reserved for "Bric-a-brac," poems in Negro dialect 
by Thomas Dunn English in 1871 which contained, imper- 
fectly developed, all the elements of droll humor and pathos 
exploited by later writers. So also Jennie Woodville and Sher- 
wood Bonner used the dialect poem after 1875 to portray the 
many types of Negro character, from the faithful retainer of 
the past to the upstart spoiled by freedom. These writers, 
however, lacked what Russell possessed a spark of genius 
and a spontaneity that gave to his work a feeling of intimately 
sharing the emotions of the black men he described. It was 
this inner sense rather than the use of dialect or situations 
that made Russell a true progenitor of Harris. 

Russell lived only twenty-six years. He was born in Mis- 
sissippi in 1853, lived irresponsibly and dissolutely, and died in 
New Orleans in 1879. Untrained and undisciplined, he reported 
rather than created the songs and stories of Negro life around 
him. Russell was as careless with his poetry as with his life. 
Yet in spite of his wastefulness this spendthrift youth put 
something of a complete philosophy in his work. "Christmas 
Night in the Quarters" (1878) stands on the threshold of 
greatness. Certainly Russell's Negro is the type familiar to 


Harris and Page the superstitious, mercurial fellow, with 
the contrasts of former slavery and present freedom, possessed 
of shrewd bits of homely wisdom, fond of the banjo and the 
'possum, happy, irresponsible, and good-natured. 

Somewhat more substantial was the work of Sherwood 
Bonner (1849-1884). Miss Bonner's girlhood was spent in 
Holly Springs, Mississippi, where she experienced some of 
the most thrilling events of the war. After an unhappy mar- 
riage Miss Bonner moved to Boston in 1872 where she sup- 
ported herself and infant daughter by contributing to various 
magazines and acting as an amanuensis to Henry Wadsworth 
Longfellow. Her stories were restricted largely to Southern 
scenes and in them she described the experiences and observa- 
tions of her early life. A series of "Gran'mammy" tales deal- 
ing with the Negro, written in 1875 an d 1876, won for her 
some recognition. In 1878 she published a novel, "Like unto 
Like," which has significance as one of the earliest novels of 
the war and its aftermath in which the theme of reconciliation is 
considered. Miss Bonner, in fact, covered all phases of South- 
ern life, even, in her tales of the Tennessee mountains, antici- 
pating Miss Murfree. Besides her use of the Negro, the planta- 
tion, and Reconstruction, she also was a pioneer in writing 
light, humorous tales of wartime in which the virtues of both 
sides are developed. Thus "A Shorn Lamb" is the story of a 
Confederate girl who to save her lover from capture by Fed- 
eral troops cuts off her hair to furnish him a wig with which 
to complete his disguise as a woman. Shortly before her death 
in 1883, Miss Bonner published her "Dialect Tales" which 
the editor of Harper's Weekly accepted as being "peculiarly 
American" because they portrayed realistically the secluded 
lives of everyday folk. 

The essence of greatness in local color fiction, however, is 
the complete identification of the author with the raw material 
he is refining. Miss Bonner did not possess such complete art- 
istry. She seems to stand outside rather than within her sub- 
ject, transcribing a life rather than living it. Nevertheless her 
work carried to the verge of the great writing of the eighties 
and prepared the way for the triumph of Southern themes 
in that decade. 


Constance Fenimore Woolson, the only Northern author 
who made a positive contribution to the development of the 
Southern genre, was important as a pioneer for much the same 
reason. Her first Southern story, "Old Gardiston" (1876), 
introduced the note of pathos and exploited it more effectively 
than any writer before Page. "Old Gardiston" also has signif- 
icance as the earliest important postwar use of an intersec- 
tional marriage as a reconciliation motif. "Rodman the Keeper'' 
(1880), which collected Miss Woolson's Southern work, re- 
vealed the possibilities which lay in graphic and sympathetic 
portraiture of the overthrow of the plantation life. Yet here 
again, as in the case of Miss Bonner, there was missing that 
elusive touch which when present transforms local color real- 
ism into living romance. Page felt this to be true when he 
wrote that Miss Woolson failed to "find the treasure of the 
inner life which lies deeper than her somewhat scornful gaze 
penetrated/ 7 although no adjective could have been more un- 
happily chosen by Page than the word "scornful." 10 Miss Wool- 
son's heart was full of love and admiration for the South, and 
no reader could leave her pages with other than charity for 
the people she described. 

The background was thus prepared for the work of a great 
quartet of writers, George W. Cable, Joel Chandler Harris, 
Thomas Nelson Page, and Mary Noailles Murfree, whose ac- 
tivity in the eighties established the primacy of Southern 
themes in American literature. "Old Creole Days" (1879), 
"The Grandissimes" (1880) and "Madame Delphine" (1881) 
fixed Cable's reputation as a master in the technique of the 
short story and as an exquisite artist in sympathetic and sin- 
cere delineation of the intricate beauties of Creole society. 
"Uncle Remus" (1880) and a long succession of short stories 
on every theme of Southern life made Harris the greatest 
white interpreter of Negro character as well as a worthy suc- 
cessor of Longstreet and Johnston m depicting the democracy 
of middle Georgia. "In Ole Virginia" (1887), a collection 
which included "Marse Chan" (1884) and "Meh Lady" 
(1886), raised Page to the summit of those who painted the 

10 T. N. Page, "Literature in the South since the War," Lippincott's, 
XLVIII (1890,740. 


mellowed tradition of the plantation. "In the Tennessee Moun- 
tains" (1884) and "Where the Battle Was Fought" (1885) 
gave Miss Murfree renown for her vivid presentation of the 
strange society found in the secluded corners of the Southern 

These writers met every canon of contemporary criticism. 
Seemingly they depicted with extreme fidelity the character 
and manners of the people whose natural lives they charmingly 
presented. Their use of dialect was perfect, and the technical 
structure of their short story form was unexcelled. Sincere 
in their sympathy and complete in their understanding of the 
material they used, they were able to find in simple surround- 
ings the universal interest that elevated their work far be- 
yond the provincial origins of their own careers. Their reputa- 
tion thus rested upon a firm basis, but contributing greatly to 
added popularity was the fresh and poetic glamour which sur- 
rounded the quaint scenes they explored. 

The volume of output was greatly increased by the work of 
lesser figures. Johnston was inspired by Northern patronage to 
resume his portraiture of Georgia types, becoming one of the 
most prolific contributors to the magazines during the eighties 
and nineties. A. C. Gordon and George W. Bagby were lesser 
reflections of Page. F. Hopkinson Smith in "Colonel Carter 
of Cartersville" (1891) created two classic characters of 
Southern fiction, the Colonel and his Negro body-servant 
Chad. H. S. Edwards, Virginia Frazer Boyle, Ruth McEnery 
Stuart, Molly Elliott Seawell, and Howard Weeden dealt in 
the humor and pathos of Negro life. Grace King and Kate 
Chopin followed Cable's lead in picturing the Creole. T. C. De 
Leon and George Gary Eggleston wrote with the Civil War 
as a background, the latter growing progressively more facile 
in idealizing the mutual heroism of Blue and Gray. Novels like 
Maurice Thompson's "Tallahassee Girl" (1881), Julia Ma- 
gruder's "Across the Chasm" (1885), and Matt Crim's "Ad- 
ventures of a Fair Rebel" ( 1890), developed the theme of social 
contact between Northerners and Southerners. A host of 
writers, whose names were rarely heard beyond local bound- 
aries, wrote novels idealizing the Southern past, such as J. W. 
Moore's "Heirs of St. Kilda" (1881), F. Fontaine's "Etowah" 


(1887), and Florella Meynardie's "Amy Oakly" (1879). Mrs * 
Burton Harrison and Mrs. Margaret J. Preston wrote stories 
redolent of plantation memories, while the dexterous popu- 
larizer Opie Read reached a less discriminating public with a 
long list of paper-back novels on conventional Southern themes. 
The ablest of the younger writers who began writing in the 
later eighties was James Lane Allen whose many short stories, 
novels, and descriptive articles made the "Blue Grass Region 
of Kentucky" a familiar possession of every American reader. 
This school of writers exemplified completely the spirit of 
the New South which dominated Southern thought during 
the eighties. The war and Reconstruction provided its disci- 
pline of introspection. If the writers received scanty prepa- 
ration in a formal sense, were ignorant of life in its broader 
aspects, and knew little of the art of criticism, they did grasp 
the significance of what the South had experienced. The very 
narrowness of opportunity in postwar Dixie stimulated them 
to venture into careers which would have seemed uninviting to 
an earlier Southern generation. Thus Page might well have 
pursued in ante-bellum Virginia the profession of law for 
which he had been trained had not contact with the tradition 
and the veterans of the Old Dominion's golden age made his 
opportunity before the bar seem insignificant in comparison. 
In other cases dire necessity conditioned life. The impover- 
ished Cable turned from humble positions as an apothecary's 
assistant, and clerk in a cotton factor's firm, to explore the 
ancient lore of New Orleans, feeling that it would be "a pity 
to let [it] go to waste." When Harris, trudging painfully up 
the journalistic ladder of success, began filling columns of the 
Atlanta Constitution with Negro folklore remembered from 
his boyhood, he least of all men expected that Uncle Remus 
would soon make his name known around the world. Miss 
Murfree's equipment was a series of summer vacations spent 
in the Cumberland Mountains. She, like her colleagues, excelled 
only when depicting with fresh enthusiasm the intimate obser- 
vations of youth. Her later works, and this was equally true of 
Cable, Page, and Harris, never equaled the greatness of her 
first success. Most of what was excellent in this Southern lit- 
erature of pathos and sympathy for simple and in cases frus- 


trated lives was the outpouring of young men and women 
putting in letters the yearnings of their own earlier and un- 
settled years. Success seemed to alienate them from the main- 
spring of their genius. 

They were also typical of the new age in the love and de- 
votion they cherished for the old. There was hardly a Negro 
in this fiction who could not have said with Virginia Frazer 
Boyle's darkey, "dey was good ole days, dose times befoah de 
wall!" n If Allen took his readers into a "green and fragrant" 
world of Kentucky and Page wrote of "a goodly Land in 
those old times," Johnston maintained that life in middle 
Georgia was so constituted as to breed the best traits of char- 
acter, and Harris retained a living image of serenity, beauty, 
and nobility of "old plantation days." It was this love of sub- 
ject, rather than restraint of Southern opinion, which excluded 
from Southern literature of the eighties all traces of grim real- 
ism. Walter Hines Page felt embarrassment from the presence 
of what he called Ghosts of the Southern past the Con- 
federate tradition, religious orthodoxy, and the fear of Negro 
domination. Cable, in his later and more doctrinaire moments, 
found the South hostile to his criticisms of the white attitude 
toward the Negro. But these were isolated cases. The great 
body of writers, and this is equally true of Cable in his fiction, 
seem never to have entertained a doubt as to the excellence of 
the region. Even the imperfections were lovingly depicted. 
Consequently there entered into Southern literature a rich theme 
of nostalgia which has never entirely disappeared and which 
gave to it a piquant charm in a rapidly changing world. 

I'll never hear as onst I heerd, 

In de happy times long gone, 
De darkeys singin' like dey sung 

Amongst de yaller corn. 12 

And yet again it was not untypical that young men of the 
New South could entertain such views of the past and still 
embrace a whole-hearted acceptance of reconciliation. Few of 

11 "How Jerry Bought Malvinny," Century, XL (1880), 892. 

12 A. C Gordon, "Home Again," in "Befo' de War" (New York, 1888), 



the writers could go so far as Cable in "Dr. Sevier" in assert- 
ing that the Union cause was just. But even Bagby , who be- 
lieved it was "simple truth' ' that "there was in our Virginia 
country life a beauty, a simplicity, a purity, an uprightness, a 
cordial and lavish hospitality, warmth and grace which shine 
in the lens of memory with a charm that passes all language 
at my command/' also "prayed God" that he would never 
again see "the filth, the disease, the privation, the suffering, 
the mutilation, and above all, the debasement of public and 
private morals [which] leave to war scarcely a redeeming 
feature." 13 It is a characteristic of both Page and Harris that 
virtually all the characters of their fiction who, on the eve of 
the Civil War, might be considered spokesmen for the author's 
own point of view, were conservatives who urged moderation, 
and hesitated to resort to a policy of secession. 14 Moreover 
there was not an important writer of this school who did not 
believe the South better off within the restored Union. So far 
as the future was concerned Maurice Thompson spoke for 
the group when he wrote : 

The South whose gaze is cast 

No more upon the past, 

But whose bright eyes the skies of promise sweep, 
Whose feet in paths of progress swiftly leap ; 
And whose past thought, like cheerful rivers run, 
Through odorous ways to meet the morning sun. 

This was one of the most important adaptations made in the 
postwar South. It is what saved Southern literature from pro- 
vincialism and permitted its wide acceptance in the North. So 
long as slavery had been a living actuality the peculiar institu- 
tion had constituted a barrier as effective in letters as in politics 
and economics. No author before the war had been able to 
touch on Southern themes without becoming a defender of a 
system which seemed to threaten Northern interests. Against 
him had been arrayed the full force of Northern hostility. 
Northern writers inspired by Northern patriotism had been 

13 G. W. Bagby, "The Old Virginia Gentleman" (New York, 1910), 44, 

14 See as typical the character of Dr. Gary in T. N. Page, "Red Rock" 
(New York, 1900). 


moved to exercise their skill in portraying a South of "bar- 
barism," "cruelty," and "injustice." A civil war in literature 
had been an important phase of the "irrepressible conflict." 
It need hardly be suggested that the South had been conquered 
by the pen as thoroughly as by the sword. Southerners who 
survived the debacle quite properly maintained that the North 
had a distorted picture of the ante-bellum South, one that was 
colored in every aspect by abolitionist prejudice. 

Once slavery had been destroyed, and Southern writers no 
longer aspired to Southern independence, the situation was re- 
versed. By 1880 the North had lost its apprehension and 
Northern writers ceased to have any incentive to write in a 
spirit of hostility towards Dixie. A culture which in its life was 
anathema to the North, could in its death be honored. This 
was the richest legacy the Southern writers inherited. Without 
offense to any living interest they could at last tell what they 
deemed to be the truth about the land they loved. 

So far as reconciliation is concerned, the important feature 
of this literature is the picture of the Old South it conveyed 
to Northern readers. It mattered little who the author was, 
whether he had the greatness of Harris, the passionate in- 
tensity of Page, or the lyrical beauty of Allen. In every case 
the plantation "lived once mo j , . . . an' de ole times done come 
back ag'in." 15 "Uncles," "Mammies," "Colonels," gracious 
ladies, fair maidens, and brave cadets crossed the pages with 
smiling faces and courteous manners; and "songs floated out 
upon the summer air, laden with the perfume of rose and 
honeysuckle and peach blossom." 16 Even the "moonlight seemed 
richer and mellower before the war." 1T What if the tradition 
omitted much that was true and exaggerated the attractive 
features of the departed life? It rested upon a bedrock of fact, 
and distorted the actuality no more violently than had the 
abolitionist attack whose unfriendly picture it was now fortu- 
nately correcting. The tradition itself became a fact, giving 
to Southern youth a conception of courage, energy, and strength 
upon which could be erected the foundations of a new life, 

15 Uncle Billy in T. N. Page, "Meh Lady," "In Ole Virginia" (New 
York, 1889). 

16 Cf. W. M. Baskerville, "Southern Writers" (Nashville, 1896-1897), 31, 

17 Page, "Red Rock," Preface, 


and to Northerners an insight into the Southern heart which 
made it easier to understand why erstwhile foes had been in- 
spired to "live and die for Dixie." 

Subtly and with great felicity a persuasive dogma of de- 
fense was inculcated in this literature. "All now agree," wrote 
a Southern observer, " whether conservative upholders of 
the Old South or advanced proclaimers of a New South 
that our history must be made known in all its truth and 
grandeur to the world." 1S The short story gave the opportu- 
nity to relate more effectively than in any other form the 
"story of its life, of its aspirations, its feelings, its failures, 
its achievements before and during and since the civil war." 19 
Each of the three great issues which divided the sections 
race relations, Civil War, and Reconstruction received am- 
ple treatment. Sometimes as in Julia Magruder's "Across the 
Chasm" the didactic purpose was thinly veiled. But in more 
capable hands the reader rarely suspected the strong appeal that 
was being made to enlist his sympathies for the furled banner 
of the Confederacy. 

The Negro was the focal character even as he had been 
in the polemic writing of the fifties. Somewhat paradoxically 
the two schools, so radically opposed in their sympathies, used 
much the same traditional types in delineating the dusky source 
of so much turmoil. Topsy might well have been a poem by 
Irwin Russell. Uncle Tom was the same devoted slave that 
Page depicted in such unforgettable images as Uncle Billy and 
Ole 'Stracted. James Lane Allen, who in his "Uncle Tom at 
Home" attempted to controvert the impression established by 
Mrs. Stowe's great novel, almost plagiarized his opponent, as 
the following juxtaposition will reveal: 

Mrs. Stowe Allen 

The cabin of Uncle Tom was You will come upon some 

a small log building, close ad- cabin set back in a small yard 

joining to "the house," as the and half-hidden, front and side, 

negro par excellence designates by an almost tropical jungle of 

his master's dwelling. In front vines and multiform foliage; 

18 W. M. Baskerville, "Southern Literature since the War/' Vanderbilt 
Observer, XV (1893), 209. 

19 W. M. Baskerville, "Southern Literature since the War/' Vanderbilt 
Observer, 210. 


it had a neat garden-patch, patches of great sunflowers, 

where, every summer, straw- never more leonine in tawny 

berries, raspberries, and a va- magnificence and sun-loving 

riety of fruits and vegetables, repose ; festoons of white and 

flourished under careful tend- purple morning glories over 

ing. The whole front of it was the windows and up to the low 

covered by a large scarlet be- eaves; around the porch and 

gonia and a native multiflora above the doorway, a trellis of 

rose, which, entwisting and in- gourd vines swinging their long- 

terlacing, left scarcely a vestige necked, grotesque fruit; about 

of the rough logs to be seen, the entrance hollyhocks and 

Here, also, in summer various other brilliant bits of bloom, 

brilliant annuals, such as mari- marigolds and petunias. 21 
golds, petunias, four-o'clocks, 
found an indulgent corner in 
which to unfold their splendors, 
and were the delight and pride 
of Aunt Chloe's heart. 20 

Even the reunion of George Shelby and Uncle Tom around 
the latter 's deathbed is based upon the same close bond of 
master and slave that ennobles the dying moments of Ole 
'Stracted. The loyalty of slave to master is exploited in either 
case and the sympathy of the reader is excited by the pathos 
inherent in the dramatic contrasts such a relationship created. 
It is, of course, in the direction given to the contrasts that 
the great difference between Mrs. Stowe and the postwar 
writers appears. In the former the devotion of the slave is 
tragically at the mercy of the master. In the latter the im- 
poverished and usually helpless master is normally dependent 
upon the loyalty of the slave. Uncle Tom was "the martyr of 
a system, but Uncle Billy was as he himself stated the "chief 
'pendance uv Meh Lady." And so in Uncle Tom the sympathy 
of the reader is directed to the lowly slave, while in the post- 
war fiction it is the overthrown gentry who are the recipients 
of a forgiving pity. In both cases it becomes apparent that the 
Negro was primarily a device by which a white philosophy of 
race relations was advanced. 

20 "Uncle Tom's Cabin," ch. iv, first paragraph. 

21 "Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom at Home in Kentucky," Century, XXXIV 
(1887), 853. 


"Meh Lady" and "Uncle Remus," therefore, were primarily 
the answer of the Southern genius of the eighties to the Yan- 
kee genius of the fifties. Harris alone, perhaps, created in 
Uncle Remus a Negro character which had existence in life 
independent of traditional types. Yet Uncle Remus was an 
old man. His life had been the departed plantation and he told 
of days which had passed. Consequently if Harris showed 
unique insight into the Negro soul, he at the same time used 
the venerable figure of Uncle Remus to preserve and transmit 
the memories of antebellum days. In this respect he was as 
much a part of the tradition as Thomas Nelson Page. 

The publication of "Uncle Remus" gave Harris immediate 
recognition among white readers everywhere as the greatest 
authority on Negro life. Consequently what Harris wrote 
about the colored man assumed significance beyond that of 
any of his contemporaries. It is important to note, therefore, 
that the outstanding Northern magazine of the time recog- 
nized in Uncle Remus "the best . . . study ... of a type 
familiar to us all the old plantation negro. It is a character, 
now [1881] almost a tradition, that has been sketched in song 
and story; but that will never find a more faithful or sympa- 
thetic delineator than the creator of Uncle Remus. The gentle 
old darkey shrewd, yet simple-minded, devoted to the people 
who once owned him as a slave, yet with a certain tyrannical 
sense of his hold upon their affection will live forever in 
these pages, a gracious relic of a time and an 'institution* whose 
memories for the most part are an abiding curse. Even the oc- 
casional mild little apologies for the patriarchal system which 
the author scatters through his work will offend no one. They 
lend it a pleasant old-time, 'bef o' the wah' flavor ; so to speak, 
they give the picture 'distance.' " 22 

Harris's other Negro characters have little individuality apart 
from the familiar types. Balaam was the faithful servant whose 
life was inseparable from that of his master whose weakness 
Balaam protected. Ananias, as his name suggests, had a com- 
mon Negro failing (according to the tradition) which he 
craftily employed to support an impoverished Colonel and his 
daughter who stood helpless in the postwar upheaval. Mingo 

**Scribner>s Monthly, XXI (1881), 961-962. 


possessed "the native gentility of the old negro' ' trained in 
slavery. Free Joe, alone, was a unique creation, the one ex- 
ample in all this literature that approached a sordid aspect of 
slavery. Yet even here it was a white man's sensibilities rather 
than a tortured Negro's soul that was exposed. For Free Joe 
was the anomaly of slavery a free Negro in a slave com- 
munity and so embodied "that vague and mysterious dan- 
ger that seemed to be forever lurking on the outskirts of 
slavery/' 23 If Harris had a philosophy of race relations it 
proceeded from such opinions as the following scattered 
through his writings: 

. . . there is nothing more notorious in history, nothing more 
mysterious, than the fact that civilization is not over-nice in the 
choice of her hand-maidens. One day it is war, another it is 
slavery. Every step in the advancement of the human race has 
a paradox of some kind as its basis. 24 

.. . . self-interest combined with feelings of humanity to make 
it [slavery] a patriarchal institution. And such, in fact, it was. It 
is to the glory of the American character and name, that never 
before in the history of the world was human slavery marked by 
such mildness, such humanity, as that which characterized it in 
the United States. 25 

It was typical of Harris that he claimed the glory in the name 
of American rather than Southern character. The problem of 
the Negro under free conditions could best be solved in his 
opinion by preserving as far as possible the bonds of friend- 
ship and respect that had existed on the old plantation. 

The Negroes of Thomas Nelson Page were all of the faith- 
ful, devoted type and were used primarily as accessories to 
heighten the effect of pathos emanating from the departed 
grandeur of plantation days. Yet what a galaxy Page created 
Sam who serves so faithfully Marse Chan and who re- 
lates so touchingly this epic of Confederate valor; Ole 'Stracted 
who lives in memories of the past and Ephraim, his son, who 
struggles through the befuddlement of share tenancy; Uncle 

28 "Free Joe" (New York, 1887), 7-8. 

24 "At Teague Poteet's," in "Mingo and Other Sketches" (Boston, 1884), 

25 "Georgia" (New York, 1896), 252-^53. 


Gabe boasting of his white folks; Unc' Edinburgh directing 
with rare finesse the intricacies of a plantation courtship; and 
above all the beloved Uncle Billy, the protector of Meh Lady, 
whose happy ending made "hit 'pear [to all his readers] like 
de plantation live once mo', and de ain' no mo' scufflin', an' 
de ole times done come back ag'in." 

Generally speaking, the Negro of this literature was one of 
two standard types, the devoted slave, happy if the scene 
was laid in days of slavery, the guardian of his white folks 
if the grimmer postwar South was the period of the story, and 
the confused freedman who usually was rescued from semi- 
ludicrous predicaments by the white people to whom he once 
had belonged. 26 The picture of race relations was uniformly a 
happy one so long as the white South was trusted to work out 
its own solution. Sam, the narrator in Page's "Marse Chan/' 
epitomized the conditions under slavery as follows : 

Dem wuz good ole times, marster de bes' Sam uver see! 
Niggers didn'- hed nothin' 'tall to do jes' hed to 'ten' to de 
feedin' an' cleanin' de hawses, an' doin' what de marster tell 'em 
to do; an' when dey wuz sick, dey hed things sont 'em out de 
house, an' de same doctor come to see 'em whar 'ten' to de white 
folks when dey wuz poly, an' all. Dyar warn' no trouble nor 

Conditions under freedom, all the authors agreed, were best 
when, as Allen wrote, the "superstitious, indolent, singing, 
dancing, impressionable creature [Negro] depends upon others 
[preferably the Southern whites] for enlightenment, training, 
and happiness." 27 In other words the kindly and affectionate 
relations of the races under slavery were the true basis for a 
proper solution of the problem of races. Here, indeed, was a 
startling answer to the abolitionists. 

No less effectively did the writers of the eighties soften the 
asperities of Civil War issues into mellowed conventions which 
extolled the mutual valor of both Blue and Gray, Miss Mur- 
free's "Where the Battle Was Fought" represented the type 

26 A. W. Tourgee, "The South as a Field of Fiction," Forum, VI (18 

27 J. L. Allen, "Blue Grass Region of Kentucky" (New York, 1900), 73. 


of work which enlisted Northern sympathy for the devastation 
wrought by Northern invasions. Page was best in such stories 
as "The Burial of the Guns/' "Meh Lady," and "Marse 
Chan" where he appealed to the sentiment by picturing the 
nobility of dying Confederate heroes and the sacrifices of 
Southern women. Harris seemed chiefly interested, as in "Little 
Compton" and "The Kidnapping of President Lincoln," in 
illustrating how much common Americanism existed in both 
the armies. The composite fully informed the reading public 
of the extent of Southern suffering, the nobility of Southern 
devotion to the "lost cause," and the basic Americanism that 
underlay the Southern endeavor. The tears that fell over Marse 
Chan were tears of memories long softened by passing time, 
and quite unlike the tears of poignant bitterness that kept the 
North and South embroiled when casualty lists caused cheeks 
to blanch and hearts to faint. The pride the reader now felt in 
Confederate valor was quite unlike the pride once taken in 
Sherman's destructive march to the sea. It was a curious ele- 
ment in the emerging patriotism for Northerners to boast of 
Southern heroism as an American trait. 

So also were the issues of Reconstruction fully explained 
in charity to the prostrate South. The work was partly accom- 
plished by amassing incidental detail from many sources. Thus 
in the short story, "At Teague Poteet's," Harris suggested 
how the Radicals built up their campaign of misrepresentation 
by exaggerating a fight with illicit distillers in the Georgia 
mountains into an atrocity story which they labeled "a new 
phase of the rebellion." However, it is chiefly in two novels, 
Page's "Red Rock" and Harris's "Gabriel Tolliver," that the 
complete Southern account of Reconstruction was chronicled. 
Yet not a word was written which could cause offense to 
Northern susceptibilities. The villains were Southern scala- 
wags as frequently as Northern carpetbaggers. Representa- 
tive Southerners were depicted never as recalcitrant but al- 
ways as seeking Union, peace, and good will. In many instances 
the "better type" of Northerner resident in the South assisted 
the Southern white at critical moments to throw off the yoke 
of oppression. This was notably true in "Red Rock" where 
a Northern heroine saved from imprisonment a Ku Klux 


leader whom she married. Harris concluded his indictment of 
Reconstruction by declaring that no "parcel of politicians" 
could turn the South against the restored Union. 

The desire to promote good will between the sections and to 
achieve reconciliation was another characteristic of the South- 
ern writers. Page declared that he had "never wittingly written 
a line which he did not hope might tend to bring about a better 
understanding between the North and the South, and finally 
lead to a more perfect Union/' 2B Harris, with whom the de- 
sire to reconcile amounted almost to a passion, insisted that 
the purest and most distinctive traits in Southern life were those 
elements which gave it kinship to the nation. 29 A contempo- 
rary Southern critic quite aptly stated that the literature of the 
eighties aimed "to cement bonds of good fellowship between 
the sections." 30 

The reconciliation theme appeared under many guises. The 
writers when dealing with contentious issues were careful to 
use accessories which were free from any offense to the North. 
Their very efforts to justify the Southern record were con- 
ditioned by eagerness that the North should accept the vin- 
dication. Consequently every word in defense of Dixie was 
free from bitterness and tended to contribute to better under- 
standing. More specifically the reconciliation motif became 
conventionalized in a plot which married a Northern hero to 
a Southern heroine. Thus in Harris's "Aunt Fountain's Pris- 
oner" a Southern "Mammy" found a wounded Union officer, 
"captured" him, and, taking him to the home of her young 
mistress, nursed him back to health, thus starting a love story 
which resulted in the union of a Yankee and a Southern girl. 
The Northerner seemed to have been a noble character, and 
Harris could not refrain from observing that "he gave me a 
practical illustration of the fact that one may be a Yankee and 
a Southerner too, simply by being a large-hearted, whole- 
souled American." Harris was not subtle in his use of the rec- 
onciliation motif, but in "The Old Bascom Place" he did 
write one of the most popular examples of the genre. Here 

28 Page, Introduction to the Plantation Edition of his works. 

29 Harris, "Harris/* 140-141. Note how the conception entered into such 
stories as "Azalia" and "The Kidnapping of President Lincoln." 

80 Baskerville, "Southern Writers," 100-101. 


again the heroine symbolized all the virtues of the South, the 
hero those of the North, and the union, which combined the 
best of each, was Americanism. If in the process of courtship 
obstacles of misunderstanding had to be overcome, so also in 
the wedding of North and South contact brought reconciliation 
and the closing of the chasm. 31 

Harris was in no sense the discoverer of the intersectional 
marriage as a literary motif of reconciliation, or even its most 
skillful exploiter/ 2 The plot appealed especially to the feminine 
writers, Miss Woolson employing it with notable success in 
"Old Gardiston," and Julia Magruder in "Across the Chasm." 
In fact nearly every author of the group at some time in his 
career used the device. But it remained for Page, supreme here 
as in other phases of sentimental pathos, to write the classic. 
"Meh Lady," told in the mellow dialect of a Negro narrator, 
is a story of a Southern girl who, having lost a brother in the 
war, is called upon to nurse a wounded Yankee back to health. 
Then ensued the love theme, the obstacles to overcome, and 
the marriage. 

The simple tale of love and reconciliation unfolded with such 
charm and felicity of expression that it seems a sacrilege to 
point out that "Meh Lady" was a conscious effort of the au- 
thor rather than a spontaneous expression of a heart filled with 
compassion. And yet it was an editor of a Northern magazine, 
the Century, who suggested the idea of the story to Page. 
Robert Underwood Johnson was the source, and his inspira- 
tion came from reading Lessing's "Minna von Barnhelm," 
in which a Prussian hero wooed a Saxon heroine in the inter- 
est of a united Germany. 33 It matters little. The alchemy was 
Page. "Meh Lady" was a fresh creation in which all the baser 
metals of sectional strife were transmuted into pure gold. A 
later generation may deem it insignificant but in the eighties 
it was one of the brightest ornaments of reconciliation, 

81 In "The Grandissimes," Cable used a theme, contributing to reconcilia- 
tion, that was not copied by later writers. The novel dealt with Creole senti- 
ment in 1804, an obvious parallel to Southern sentiment in 1865. In both 
cases a reluctant people were held in a union not of their choice. 

82 Even before the Civil War, W. A. Caruthers, "The Kentuckian in 
New York" (1834), used the plot. 

88 R. W. Johnson, "Remembered Yesterdays" (Boston, 1923), 121-122. 


A group which produced "Old Creole Days/' "In Ole Vir- 
ginia/' "Uncle Remus/' and "In the Tennessee Mountains" 
might rest upon its laurels, content in having demonstrated 
that the South was not inferior to the North in native literary 
ability. Yet the South remained defective in one requirement 
for permanent literary greatness. The faculty for self-criticism 
was, as W. P. Trent wrote in the middle nineties, "in a very rudi- 
mentary stage, and affords no clear warrant that the next gen- 
eration of Southern writers will be able to maintain the posi- 
tion won by the painful and ever laudable labors of their 
predecessors." 34 Yet even here the New South made an impor- 
tant contribution. Restricted as it was with the legacy of a de- 
fense reaction, the young men of the eighties laid a founda- 
tion of criticism upon which a later generation might de- 

It has never been appreciated to the extent it should that 
Joel Chandler Harris possessed beneath a shy exterior a deep 
sense of critical values. He was one of the first Southerners 
to frown upon the incessant clamor of his fellow Southerners 
for a "purely Southern literature." Even before he had won 
recognition as the creator of Uncle Remus he raised his voice 
against "controversial fiction" and the "lack of healthy criti- 
cism." 35 Repeatedly he warned the writers of Dixie of the 
peculiar obstacles they must overcome. 86 It was not the least 
achievement of this remarkable man to have recognized in 
1881 that "we must get over our self -consciousness and so 
control our sensitiveness as to be able to regard with indiffer- 
ence na y j w ith complacency the impulse of criticism 
which prompts and spurs every literary man and woman whose 
work is genuine." ST 

Harris, to be sure, was in this respect little more than a 
single voice. The noisier Walter Hines Page in advertising 
"the hobgoblins of a dying civilization" received somewhat 
more attention. But Page lived out his life in the North, emit- 
ting an occasional sigh "for a change in his beloved South 

34 W P. Trent, "Tendencies of a Higher Life in the South," Atlantic, 
LXXIX (1897), 768. 

85 Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 30, 1879. 

86 Ibid., Dec, 9, 1879. 
37 Ibid., Feb. 20, 1881. 


a change of almost any kind !" 3S Meanwhile young men of 
Harris's generation and point of view set quietly to work with 
the imperfect materials they found at hand and prepared in 
several university centers a basis of self-criticism in the South. 
W. M. Baskerville, born in 1850, was a pioneer in this move- 
ment. His sympathetic yet kindly discriminatory "Studies of 
Southern Writers" was the first important searchlight a son 
of Dixie focused upon the literary output of his section. 
Baskerville performed his chief service in teaching at Vander- 
bilt and Sewanee from 1881 until his death in i899. 39 Few 
things gave him greater pleasure than being able to write in 
1893 that "For the first time Southern intellect is in touch with 
the rest of the world/ 7 40 

W. P. Trent emerged from a similar environment. In 1892 
he published the most important literary biography in South- 
ern history, a life of W. G. Simms, the prewar novelist of 
Charleston. Trent's "Simms" is possibly the most devastating 
indictment of the intellectual life of the Old South ever written 
by an informed scholar. Had a Northerner done the job it 
might readily be dismissed as of little significance outside the 
field of scholarship. But coming from the pen of a member of a 
rising generation of Southerners it became a sort of declara- 
tion of independence upon which all future literary criticism 
in the South might be erected. 

Even now [wrote Trent] many otherwise well informed gentle- 
men do not understand the full meaning of that expression "South- 
ern Chivalry," which they use so often. They know that it stands 
for many bright and high things, but they seem to forget its 
darker meaning. They forget that it means that the people of the 
South were leading a primitive life, a life behind the age. They 
forget that it means that Southerners were conservative, slow to 
change, contented with the social distinctions already existing. 
... It means that Southerners lived a life which, although simple 
and picturesque, was nevertheless calculated to repress many of 
the best faculties and powers of our nature. It was a life aiford- 

38 R. D. Connor, "W. H. Page," in H. W. Odum, "Southern Pioneers in 
Social Interpretation" (Chapel Hill, 1925), 56. 

39 J. B. Henneman, "The Late Professor Baskerville," Sewanee Review, 
VIII (1900), 26-44- 

40 Fanderbilt Observer, XV (1893), 209. 


ing few opportunities to talents that did not lie in certain beaten 
grooves. It was a life gaining its intellectual nourishment, just 
as it did its material comforts, largely from abroad, a life that 
choked all thought and investigation that did not tend to conserve 
existing institutions and opinions, a life that rendered originality 
scarcely possible except under the guise of eccentricity. 41 

Like most declarers of independence, Trent overstated his case. 
But it was significant that he could assert without fear of 
refutation that "out of the ashes of the Old South a new and 
better South has arisen. A disintegrated and primitive people 
have become united among themselves and with their former 
foes, and are moving forward upon the path of progress." ** 
The newly born spirit of criticism created its own vehicle of 
expression when, in 1892, The Sewanee Review was founded 
with Trent as its editor. The Review had its trials and tribula- 
tions but, unlike any of its Southern predecessors, it lived, and 
maintained standards that won recognition far beyond the 
boundaries of the South it served so well. 

Criticism, however, was a minor phase of the Southern lit- 
erature of the eighties and the nineties. The main considera- 
tion is that the South had begun to write. Dixie was telling in 
its own way the story of its life, aspirations, sentiments, trag- 
edies, and triumphs. It was a story proudly reminiscent of the 
past, yet perfectly attuned to the present. Its aim was to con- 
vert the Northern disbeliever. "The South," as Baskerville con- 
fessed, "is leading a new invasion against the North/* 43 and 
our interest now turns to measure the efficiency of the pen in a 
field where the sword had failed. 

41 W. P. Trent, "William Gilmore Simms" (Boston, 1892), 36-37. 

42 Ibid., 289-290. 

^Vanderbilt Observer, XV (1893), 210. 




EVERY progressive step taken by the New South had as a 
cardinal principle the integration of Southern regionalism in the 
expanding life of the nation. Nothing more strikingly illus- 
trated this fact than the literary movement of the eighties. In 
the ante-bellum period the efforts of Simms and Timrod to 
foster a distinctive Southern literature had been one phase of 
a sectionalism which sought complete autonomy in intellectual 
matters. However, the Old South had lacked in letters even 
more than in other respects the basic essentials of independence. 
Potential writers and the raw materials of themes it had pos- 
sessed. But Dixie had no recognized literary capital where au- 
thors congregated and publishing houses flourished. Its literary 
taste had not recognized the importance of exploring domestic 
themes, and it never furnished a patronage for local writers. 
Without these essentials a truly sectional literature had proved 
impossible of achievement. The New South was no richer than 
the Old in ability to support a literature. The standards of 
literary criticism which fixed the taste for local color were 
Northern in origin, the publishing houses which marketed the 
wares were in Northern cities, and the clientele was the Northern 
reading public. The South possessed only the themes and 
writers, and not until the latter surrendered all aspirations for 
independence did a Southern literature really develop. Conse- 
quently it becomes obvious, as Harris stated, "that, whatever in 
our literature is distinctly Southern must ... be distinctly 
American/' * The word "sectionalism" lost its prewar mean- 
ing as a force pulling the regions asunder. In letters it signi- 

1 J. C. Harris, Introduction to J. T. Clarke, "Songs of the South" (Phila- 
delphia, 1896). 


fied little more than a localism explored for traits that would 
harmonize with the developing conventions of the newer na- 
tionalism. Without this adjustment there would have been no 
Southern literature, and the career of Harris, for example, 
would have been as much a story of frustration as had been 
that of Simms. 

Meanwhile the intellectual interests of the North had broad- 
ened beyond the narrowness of local centers and the provincial 
subserviency to European patterns. The people who had passed 
through the Civil War were no longer prone to regard as in- 
significant the life of a country growing into greatness. A 
fierce pride in American achievement generated interest in the 
American scene. A fiction of local color which mirrored faith- 
fully the elements which constituted Americanism developed in 
perfect harmony to the newly awakened taste and surpassed 
all other forms in popularity. True to the prevailing taste, the 
great magazines of the North became vehicles of nationalism 
and sought out in every corner of the country writers who 
could picture the locality in which they resided. Consequently 
a market was prepared for those Southern authors who had 
freed themselves from such sectional traits as might prove 
offensive to the national taste. In fact, as the Atlanta Consti- 
tution suggested, the Southern writer, because of the richness 
of his field, found less difficulty in meeting the demands of the 
new literature than the writers of any other section. 2 

Scribner's Monthly Magazine, which changed its name to 
The Century Magazine in 1881 when the Scribner interests re- 
tired, was the chief exponent of the new nationalism, and as 
such became the Maecenas of Southern literature. The basic 
creed of Scribner' s was "a sane and earnest Americanism/' 
which sought constantly "to increase the sentiment of union 
throughout our diverse sisterhood of States." 3 Under the edi- 
torial direction of J. G. Holland in the seventies and R. W. 
Gilder assisted by R. U. Johnson and C. C. Buell in the 
eighties, the magazine pursued a consistent policy of reconcili- 
ation, holding an even balance between the irreconcilables of 
both North and South. 

2 Atlanta Constitution, June 29, 1881. 

3 Century, XLI (1891), 148; XLII (1891), 950. 


The first step in Scribner's conscious effort to promote na- 
tionalism was the exploration of American scenes by means of 
descriptive articles, profuse illustrations, and local color fiction. 
Out of this policy grew the Great South Series, reported by 
Edward King and illustrated by J. W. Champney, in 1873 
and 1874. It was not so much a matter of Scribner's ' 'opening 
its doors'" to Southern writers as it was seeking Southerners 
who could write in language free from the older truculent and 
provincial spirit. Thus it was that Edward King, in his tour of 
the South, paid little heed to the writers of the Bledsoe school. 
But when he found the young Cable poring over the Creole 
legends in New Orleans he appreciated with the keen insight 
characteristic of the Scribner's staff that here was quaintness 
of detail and picturesque particularism perfectly attuned to the 
fundamental requirements of the new pride in America. Cable, 
through King's direction, became a contributor to Scribner's, 
and from that beginning rose steadily to fame through recog- 
nition in the North. 

Scribner's thus exercised a dominant selective influence 
which shaped the output of Southern writers in patterns of 
reconciliation. There was no truckling to the contentious par- 
tisan who endeavored to keep alive the belligerence of the past. 
Scribner's was firmly Northern and even mildly Republican in 
its major political tenets. The Southerner who was admitted 
to its columns, as one of its editors stated, was "tacitly barred 
from any expression of the old hostility." 4 He was also 
"softened in spirit" by the gratitude of being sponsored by a 
magazine which more than any other in the United States 
could start an author well along the road which led to success. 
Lanier, Harris, Johnston, Cable, Allen, Page, Smith, Russell, 
Edwards, Grace King, and Ruth McEnery Stuart, were all 
"discoveries" of Scribner's and the Century. They owed to it 
such recognition as they achieved, constant encouragement, and 
liberal financial remuneration. Needless to say their fiction was 
in complete harmony with the magazine's policy of "standing 
against sectionalism and for the Union." Each one of them 
received more than one letter from Holland, Gilder, and the 

4 L. F. Tooker, "Joys and Tribulations of an Editor" (New York, 1924). 


assistant editors urging "the broadest patriotism,'' and "love 
for the reunited nation." Gilder, who probably more than any 
other American editor effectively introduced his own standards 
of taste and criticism into the writings of his contributors, was 
especially assiduous in insisting upon the setting aside of sec- 
tional strife. The great force of the Century's position was its 
unshaken preeminence as the defender of nationalism. When 
it manifested hospitality to Southern ideas it was insurance 
that those ideas were safely "Americanized/' In return the 
Southern writers were given a perfect vehicle for carrying 
their message to the most important element in the reading 
public of the North. 

That message came in time to overshadow all other aspects 
of the Century, especially in the five year period from 1884 to 
1888 when the peak of Southern influence was reached. Harris, 
Page, and Cable were then rarely missing from any volume, 
and their work was supplemented by Thompson, Johnston, 
Allen, and Grady. The October, 1887, issue of the Century il- 
lustrates the point. Of the one hundred and fifty-nine pages 
of text, thirty-one formed a chapter in the life of Abraham 
Lincoln, sixteen were given to Allen's "Uncle Tom at Home 
in Kentucky," seven contained the concluding instalment of 
Harris's "Azalia," twenty-eight were devoted to Civil War 
reminiscences by Union and Confederate leaders, Wade Hamp- 
ton among them, and two pages carried an editorial on rec- 
onciliation. Thus over half the issue dealt with aspects of 
Southern life and history. 

The illustrations were as effective in reconciliation as the 
prose. The issue cited contained drawings recalling the stirring 
days of the war. Allen's article had illustrations idealizing race 
relations. One picture depicted a loyal slave rescuing his mas- 
ter from drowning, while another showed a white mistress 
nursing a sick slave. Harris's story had a picture of a Con- 
federate and a Union soldier both dead lying arm in arm 
on a battlefield. The Confederate had given his life in bring- 
ing water to the expiring Unionist. 

Lippincott's Magazine was far less influential than Scrib- 
ner's and the Century, but it deserves equal rating as a pioneer 
in exploiting Southern themes and in encouraging the new 


school of Southern writers. Founded in 1868, its early numbers 
contained poems by Hayne, Thompson, and Lanier, articles 
pleading for moderation in Reconstruction, descriptions of 
Southern life, and some of the first Confederate reminiscences 
published in a Northern journal. Sherwood Bonner, Jennie 
Woodville, and Annie Porter were frequent contributors in 
the years around 1880. Lip pine ott's could not maintain the 
standard of quality established by the Century. But it did oc- 
casionally secure stories by Page, Johnston, Harris, and Allen, 
while in the quantity of its Southern material Lippincott's 
easily kept pace with its greater competitor. 5 

Harper's Monthly Magazine was much slower in introduc- 
ing Southern themes and proved far less cordial in encour- 
aging Southern writers. In 1865 and 1866 the House of Harper 
had published a number of books dealing with various phases of 
the war, only to find that public indifference to war themes 
made the ventures financially unremunerative. 6 Such an expe- 
rience made for conservatism which continued to affect the 
editorial policy of Harper's Monthly long after Scribner's had 
discovered that public taste had changed. Not one article or 
story with the South or the Civil War as a background ap- 
peared in Harper's Monthly from volume forty (1869) to 
volume forty-eight (1874). In January 1874 Harper's, inspired 
by the success of Scribner's Great South series, printed a 
series of articles on the New South. 7 A year later Charles D. 
Deshler contributed his first "glimpses of Dixie," and Miss 
Woolson made her first essay in the Southern field. But still the 
Monthly moved slowly and Southern writers appeared infre- 
quently. The year 1876 saw "Old Gardiston" and a sketch of 

s The December 1891 issue of Lippincott's illustrates the magazine's treat- 
ment of Southern material. It contained a complete novel, "A Fair Block- 
ade Runner," by a Confederate veteran, T. C. De Leon, who dedicated his 
story to a Union friend as testimony of the reconciliation of North and 
South. There were also articles by Sara M. Handy on "Negro Superstitions," 
and T. N. Page on "Southern Literature since the War." 

6 J. H. Harper, "House of Harper" (New York, 1912), 243-244. All 
these works were by Northerners, among them being G. W. Nichols, 
"Story of the Great March to the Sea" (a financial success), Draper's "His- 
tory of the American Civil War" (a financial failure), and novels on war 
themes by Nichols and J. W. De Forest which did not sell. 

7 Edwin De Leon, "The New South," Harper's Monthly, XLVII (1874), 
270-280, 406-422, XLIX (1874), 555-568. 


Virginia in the Revolution by John Esten Cooke, and then came 
another stretch of silence which lasted unbroken except for an 
occasional contribution by Deshler until the end of the decade. 
The stiff Republicanism of the House of Harper during the 
seventies, indicated so sharply in the Weekly, was unques- 
tionably a prominent factor in postponing the surrender of 
this great publishing house to the advancing conquest of South- 
ern themes. Not one important Southern writer made his ini- 
tial appearance to the Northern public in Harper's Monthly. 
Yet Harper's finally came to terms. By the mid-eighties the 
Monthly was as jammed with Southern contributions as the 
Century. Harris, Johnston, Edwards, Allen, Page, Grace King, 
and Ruth McEnery Stuart then found easy access, while 
Northerners like Charles Dudley Warner and Rebecca Hard- 
ing Davis wrote series of descriptive articles on the South 
surcharged with the spirit of friendliness. In 1886 the editors 
of Harper's Monthly were expressing pleasure that their 
voyages of discovery in Southern fiction were welding the 
diverse interests of North and South into a closer community 
of national consciousness. 

Even more significant was the conquest of the Atlantic 
Monthly. Sherwood Bonner scaled the ramparts of this citadel 
of Yankee provincialism in the mid-seventies finding a warm 
American welcome where she had expected an icy New England 
blast. The Atlantic "discover ed" Miss Murfree and raised her 
to prominence. It contributed largely to the fame of Maurice 
Thompson and George Gary Eggleston whose "Rebel's Recol- 
lections" it published in serial form. By 1892 Southern themes 
had filled so many pages of the Atlantic that no one considered 
it unusual that the greatest defense and classic exposition of 
the creed of the Old South was sponsored by a Boston insti- 
tution. 8 

New magazines founded after 1885 followed the patterns 
established by their older rivals. The publishing house of 
Charles Scribner and Sons reentered the field in 1887 with 
Scribner's Magazine and immediately commanded some of, the 
best work of Page and Harris. More popular in tlieir appeal 

8 B. L. Gildersleeve, "Creed of the Old South/ 1 Atlantic, LXIX (1892), 


were Cosmopolitan, founded in 1886, Munsey's in 1891 and 
McClure's in i893. 9 This trio carried the reconciliation motives 
and conventional Southern themes to a wider if less exacting 
audience than even the Century commanded. Inasmuch as they 
were all planned primarily as business enterprises with the 
profit motive uppermost, it is indicative of the change in pub- 
lic sentiment that they all proceeded on the assumption that the 
people wanted the Southern story as the Southern authors 
portrayed it, full of sympathy and pathos for the Old, sur- 
charged with optimism for the New. Even the editors of 
Youth's Companion instructed contributors who sought ac- 
cess to their columns that "stories are not used . . . that 
would tend to revive sectional feeling between the North and 
South." 10 

It was through the magazines that Southern writers were res- 
cued from isolation and brought into relation with the most 
influential literary figures of the North. Around each maga- 
zine clustered a group of established authors and critics who 
carefully scrutinized the newcomer and offered encourage- 
ment for those who were accepted. Entrance into Harper's 
meant contact with H. M. Alden, G. W. Curtis, C. D. Warner, 
and W. D. Ho wells. Acceptance by the Atlantic was an intro- 
duction to the important New England circle which included 
Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and Howells. The Century influence 
was far-reaching chiefly through the dominating position in 
New York of Gilder and his associates. It was only a natural 
step from entrance into the magazines to the great publishing 
houses of the North. D. Appleton and Company, Harper's, 
Scribner's, Century, Lippincott's, and Osgood (later Houghton 
Mifflin Company) , were the firms which marketed in book form 
the product of the Southern school. 

Joel Chandler Harris is a good illustration of how North- 
ern editors and publishers encouraged the Southern group to 
write their "epitaph of a civilization." In the case of this shy 

9 McClure'sS, cited as typical, published Harris's "Comedy of War," 
Mackey's Confederate reminiscences, Tarbell's "Life of Lincoln," and Cham- 
ber's "The Pickets." ^ 

10 Circular describing the type of material acceptable for publication in 
Youth's Companion, issued in 1891. 


Georgian they dragged him from obscurity and placed him 
blushing on a pedestal of fame. Harris had grown up in 
poverty, was trained in the office of a plantation newspaper, 
and then, after service on a number of small-town Georgia 
newspapers, graduated to the growing city of Atlanta where 
he found a position on the Constitution. On the i8th of 
January 1877 Uncle Remus made his first appearance in the 
columns of this newspaper. For several years the stories con- 
tinued in the Constitution. Then in 1880 Harris was surprised 
by a suggestion from D. Appleton and Company that the 
legends be collected and given permanent fofm in a book. Thus 
began a series which continued through five volumes published 
over a period of twenty-five years. 

Immediately after the publication of the first Uncle Remus 
volume, Harris was besieged with letters from Northern edi- 
tors asking for material. Century carried three of his stories in 
1 88 1 and the Critic two. As his fame expanded Northern 
newspapers clamored for interviews, the most notable one be- 
ing that by Walter Hines Page in the Boston Post of Sep- 
tember 28, 1881. During the next twenty years Harris con- 
tributed to the Century, Harper's, Scribner's, the Atlantic, 
McClure 3 s, and Youth's Companion. His books were published 
by Appleton, Century, Scribner's, Harper's, McClure, Ameri- 
can Book Company, and Houghton Mifflin. At one time he 
wrote articles for S. S. McClure, who syndicated them in such 
Northern newspapers as the New York Sun, Boston Globe, 
Philadelphia Times, Washington Post, Chicago Inter-Ocean, 
St. Louis Republican, and San Francisco Examiner. Through 
these years Harris's correspondence reveals cordial interchange 
with Gilder, R. U. Johnston, James Whitcomb Riley, Mark 
Twain, Charles A. Dana, H. M. Alden, W. D. Howells, 
Brander Matthews, and E. W. Burlingame. 11 

Cable and Thomas Nelson Page duplicated Harris's expe- 
rience. Page especially proved a success in reading his dialect 
stories to Northern audiences on the lyceum circuit of Major 
J. B. Pond. Bayard Taylor was a close friend of Sidney 
Lanier, giving the struggling Southern poet constant advice, 
marketing much of his poetry, and securing for him the op- 

11 Harris, "Harris," passim. 


portunity of writing the "Centennial Cantata/* Sherwood 
Bonner was the protege of Longfellow. Miss Murfree was a 
ward of the Atlantic, receiving from Thomas Bailey Aldrich 
especially valued advice and encouragement. Holmes, Taylor, 
and Whittier were the main props upon which Paul Hamilton 
Hayne relied in the dark years of Reconstruction. Even 
Timrod's poetry was placed in permanent form as the result 
of Hayne's intercession with New England writers who 
Hayne recognized were the sole means through which the 
South could find adequate publication. Whitman was typical 
of the Northern men of letters when he wrote, "I compre- 
hended all [Southerners who] came in my way, . . . and 
slighted none. ... It has given me the most fervent views 
of the true ensemble and extent of the States." Through such 
exchanges "men forgot the asperities of politics and warmed 
to each other" as friends. Hayne, gratified by Whittier's ap- 
preciation of Timrod, was eager that "henceforth all jealousies, 
all unworthy prejudices may be annihilated between North 
and South," and stretched "forth warm hands of cordiality 
and love towards you . . . feeling sure that I shall meet with 
the electric touch of sympathy." He was not disappointed. The 
Quaker and erstwhile abolitionist w;as happy that "the past is 
dead," and "ardently desired to see the two sections of the 
Union united in peace and harmony. 12 

While the older generation of Northern writers men like 
Taylor, Holmes, Whittier, and Lowell, who had fought through 
the crises of antislavery agitation and the Civil War learned 
the lesson of forgiveness and cordially endorsed the new spirit 
in the South, certain of the younger writers endeavored to 
share in the triumph of the Southern school by ventures of 
their own in the "undiscovered country." For the most part 
these Northern imitators were second-rate hacks without es- 
pecial insight or capacity for expression. They exploited with- 

12 J. Albree, "Whittier Correspondence" (Salem, 1911), 175-176, 187, 200, 
203, 218, 221-222; R. Page, "Thomas Nelson Page" (New York, 1923), 
125; L. L. C. Bifele, "George W. Cable" (New York, 1928) ; R. Gilder (ed), 
"Letters of Richard Watson Gilder" (Boston, 1916) ; J. T. Morse, "Life 
and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes" (Boston, 1896), I, 312-313; M. H, 
Taylor and H. E. Scudder, "Life and Letters of Bayard Taylor" (Boston, 
1884) ; G. C. Knight, "James Lane Allen" (Chapel Hill, 1935) ; W. Whit- 
man, "Complete Prose Works" (Boston, 1898), 72. 


out adorning or improving the conventional types and themes. 
If there was nothing that was new and little that was felici- 
tous in their output, they nevertheless served the purpose of ef- 
fecting further the shift from hostile to sympathetic por- 
traiture of the South. 

The transition from a critical attitude to a complete espousal 
of the tradition of a South of heroism and beauty is well illus- 
trated by contrasting two facile narrators of popular tales, 
J. W. De Forest and Charles King, both veterans of the Union 
army. It is difficult for & later generation to recognize De 
Forest as an important writer, yet contemporary critics, includ- 
ing Howells, rated him highly and considered his "vigorous 
realism" and "blunt direction" important, if rare, elements 
in American letters. 13 De Forest first used the war as a back- 
ground in "Miss RaveneFs Conversion from Secession to 
Loyalty" (1867). The novel was not unkind to the South in 
detail, but it was altogether a triumph of Yankee virtue over 
Rebel frailty. The conversion of the lovely Miss Ravenel was 
accomplished by means of her devotion to a Union hero and it 
resulted in too much of an "unconditional surrender" of South 
to North to be of much aid in reconciliation. In his short stories 
De Forest portrayed both the virtues and the vices of the 
South. 14 But instead of handling the vices with a soft and tender 
touch, as the later writers were to do, De Forest approached 
them with a direct criticism that knew no compromise. A sec- 
ond novel, "Kate Beaumont" (1871), an account of family 
feuds among the gentry of South Carolina, was again a mix- 
ture of praise and blame, but certain of the traditional concepts, 
especially the Southern heroine and the plantation, emerged in 
stronger outline. De Forest's third and last novel of the South, 
"The Bloody Chasm" (1881) was the author's most direct 
effort to write uncritically a novel of reconciliation. It seems 
unnecessary to add that the chasm in the story was bridged by 
means of a love theme which united characters representative 
of the two sections. 

13 W. D. Howells, "Heroines of Fiction" (New York, 1901), II, 152-1163; 
Century, XXIII (1882), 627; Harper's Bazaar, XXXV (1901), 538. 

14 "A Gentleman of the Old School," Atlantic (May 1868); "Parole 
d'Honneur," Harper's (August 1868); "The Colored Member," Galaxy 
(March 1872) ; "Independent Ku Klux," ibid. (April 1872), 


While De Forest began writing in the cold and gray morn- 
ing of Southern themes and permitted the warmth of the as- 
cending sun to enter slowly into his work, Charles King gloried 
in the splendor of the full noon. King was a profilic novelist of 
military adventure, writing more than twoscore books with 
the Civil War or Indian fighting on the plains as his back- 
ground. "Kitty's Conquest" (1884), "A War Time Wooing" 
(1888), and "Between the Lines" (1888) will suffice to indi- 
cate the nature of his work. Miss Kitty was a pretty little arch- 
rebel with such a hatred of Yankees that she must be brought 
into conflict with a young lieutenant of the United States army 
whom she marries on the last page. The ingredients used in 
the making of this lively tale are the contrasts of the risks 
of war and the pleasures of love, with the deeper implication 
that Kitty and her lieutenant symbolize the destiny of 
North and South. Again in "A War Time Wooing," North- 
erners and Southerners fraternize and intermarry. King was a 
believer in the Harris dogma of the Americanism of both 
armies, and he endeavored constantly to show both Blue and 
Gray acting with bravery, integrity, and devotion to cause. 
"Between the Lines" was written in this spirit. Such an ac- 
count as the charge of Hampton's legion was a classic tribute 
to Southern valor. The reader of King's novels never quite 
knew on which side of the chasm his sympathies lay until the 
end when it appeared there was no longer a chasm. It had been 
closed by the alchemy of sentiment such alchemy, for ex- 
ample, as permits an author, in the closing scene of "Be- 
tween the Lines," to make a Southern kiss upon a Northern 
saber scar seem adequate reparation for all past wrongs. 

The current of sentiment swelled into a flood that engulfed 
the nation's readers. There was hardly a writer in the North 
who did not venture his literary craft into the waters of South- 
ern themes. With all the critical restraints broken down, with 
the conventional plots and characters firmly established, it was 
a simple matter to follow in the popular trend. The ease with 
which the thing could be accomplished was illustrated by Maud 
Howe (Elliott) who accompanied her celebrated mother, Julia 
Ward Howe, to the New Orleans Exposition of 1885, and 
then embodied in a novel, "Atlanta in the South" (1886), the 


"unfailing kindness and hospitality" of her half-year residence 
in Dixie. The book is a repository of conventionalized ideas 
and situations, including the basic plot of a New England girl's 
romance with a Southern youth, and yet the story was not un- 
interesting. It is eloquent of the revolution in sentiment to find 
the daughter of the woman who wrote the "Battle Hymn of 
the Republic" asserting that the Negroes were happier and bet- 
ter off under slavery than freedom, although Miss Howe con- 
tinued to show that emancipation in removing an incubus of 
responsibility from the white man's shoulders was a progressive 
step. Her own remedy for sectional misunderstanding was 
plenty of marriages between the "too-cold intellectual" North- 
erners and the "emotional, overhot" Southerners. The result 
would be (not, let us hope, lukewarm but) balanced American- 

It was all sweet and simple. Another virtue was that the 
story never seemed to cloy the popular taste. A certain S. T. 
Robinson, in "The Shadow of the War" (1884), moved, with 
a novelist's omnipotence, a Massachusetts manufacturer, his 
wife, and his beautiful daughter into the deep South with their 
assortment of preconceptions. The result, after the normal num- 
ber of pages had intervened, was something in the way of a 
New South, for the New Englander was operating a busy plant 
in his new home, the wife had learned to appreciate the inner 
charm of Southern society, and the daughter was married to 
a native youth. Another obscure scribbler, James S. Rogers, 
unblushingly dedicated his tender romance, "Our Regiment" 
(1884), of Civil War lovers to the G. A. R. in the hope that 
it might be dramatized for purposes of Post celebrations 
as it was. To end this treatment of the commonplace one fur- 
ther illustration may be offered. In John Habberton's "Brue- 
ton's Bayou" (1886) the author apparently felt that one inter- 
sectional marriage for each novel did not suffice to insure the 
permanent reunion of the States. Consequently a second ro- 
mance between Southern hero and Northern heroine is inter- 
woven around that of Northern hero and Southern heroine. 
And Habberton was not unique. There were others who even 
progressed into larger numbers. 

It was not merely the lesser known Northern writers who 


thus exploited the popular Southern themes. Frank R. Stock- 
ton, as facile a story teller as the North contained, portrayed 
the Negro with a skill scarcely inferior to that of Thomas Nelson 
Page. Stockton's Negroes were the "old time darkeys," genial 
and loyal, living in memory of the past. Uncle Elijah, in "The 
Cloverfields' Carriage" (1886), was as worthy a representa- 
tive of the type as Uncle Billy or Ole 'Stracted. Stockton fur- 
ther explored the plantation and Negro character in the short 
story, "Seven- Devils" (1888), and the novel, "The Late Mrs. 
Null" (1886). Sarah Orne Jewett contrasted the memories of 
prewar grandeur with the actualities of postwar ruin in "The 
Mistress of Sydenham Plantation" (1888), Apparently her 
sympathy resided in the Negro retainer who uttered the senti- 
ment, "I done like dem ole times de best. . . . Dere was good 
'bout dem times/ 7 There was the sweetness of sadness in Miss 
Jewett's "A War Debt" (1895) in which war memories were 
softly woven into a reconciled present. Thomas Bailey Aldrich 
was another prominent writer of the North who, in "My 
Cousin the Colonel" (1891), used a conventional Southern 
type; and Bret Harte in "Colonel Starbottle" (1891) and 
"Sally Dows" (1892) did likewise. 

The themes seemed to grow more popular with usage. There 
was no appreciable falling off in quantity as the eighties 
passed into the nineties. An examination of several examples 
in the late nineties reveal that the Northern imitators were 
still writing in conformity to the patterns established by the 
Southern school. Thus Robert Chambers told, in "The Pickets" 
(McClure's, October 1896), a story of wartime fraternizing 
very much in the spirit of Joel Chandler Harris. Harper's, 
January 1897, published a story "Between the Lines/' on the 
familiar reconciliation theme of divided love. A few months 
later another Northerner, Harriet Prescott Spofford, con- 
tributed a story of pathos, "A Guardian Angel," in which a 
Negro mammy protected the well-being of her impoverished 
mistress. W. E. Barton in the same year published his novel, 
"A Hero in Homespun/' based upon Civil War. events, in 
which again the reader is instructed that "the same kind heart 
beats under gray that beats under blue, and we are one in 
spirit today." Joseph A. Altshler's "The Last Rebel" (1897) 


was another variation on the theme of a Northerner winning 
the hand of a Southern colonel's daughter. 

The efforts of Northern writers to duplicate the successes of 
Harris, Page, and Cable produced no masterpiece in the realm 
of fiction. In the theater, however, Northerners working with 
Southern material had unquestioned supremacy. Yet no Civil 
War drama achieved real success until the middle eighties. By 
that time Northern sentiment had shifted to a full acceptance 
of the idealized picture of the South presented by the writers. 
Popular drama followed the dominant trend. The dramatists 
incorporated without restraint the conventionalized plots and 
characters of fiction. Every contentious issue between North 
and South was softened. Offensive words like "rebel" were 
carefully deleted. The tradition of mutual valor of Blue and 
Gray, the love theme of reconciliation, the tug of divided loyal- 
ties in individual consciences, and the glorious climax of re- 
union were unexcelled opportunities for dramatic construc- 
tion especially in a day of vigorous, red-blooded acting. So 
also the wealth of character was gold in the playwright's hand. 
Civil War drama ruled the stage from the appearance in 1886 
of William Gillette's "Held by the Enemy/' the first great suc- 
cess, until the end of the century. In that period were staged 
Bronson Howard's "Shenandoah" (1889), David Belasco's 
"The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1893) and "The Heart of Mary- 
land," Gillette's "Secret Service" (1896), James A. Herne's 
"Griffith Davenport" (1899), and Clyde Fitch's "Barbara 
Frietchie" (1899). In all these outstanding plays there was 
as much love and more tears for the Gray as for the Blue. 

There is no gainsaying the popularity of the Civil War 
dramas. They were the greatest "hits" of the time, and no 
American play except "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has ever aroused 
the popular enthusiasm caused by "Shenandoah" which brought 
the thrill of battle to the very stage and in the end made certain 
the future safety of the nation by uniting five (no less!) pairs 
of lovers whose loyalties had been divided by the war. There 
were many contemporary observations to the effect that the 
playwrights were contributing to better understanding, Henry 
Watterson advancing the opinion that the play "Alabama" "had 
done more to reconcile the two sections of this country than 


his editorials had done in twenty years." 15 Actually it would 
have been more accurate to say that Northern opinion had 
been conquered by the sweep of sentiment in favor of the South 
before the great popularity of reconciliation drama gave fur- 
ther evidence of the fact. 

But belligerency in literature did not die without a final 
struggle. Abolitionists like Anne E. Dickinson ("What An- 
swer?"), and discredited carpetbaggers like A. T. Morgan 
("Yazoo"), endeavored to keep alive the conflict over issues 
time was ruthlessly discarding. But of the group only one de- 
served and gained a wide publicity for his views. Judge Albion 
W. Tourgee was a legion in himself. Few writers of the late 
seventies could equal the quality of his fiction and none could 
excel the vigor of his style. At a time when the Southern 
states were removing the last vestiges of Reconstruction and 
Northern opinion was acquiescing in the work, this returned 
and honorable carpetbagger fought the new opportunism by 
renewed emphasis on the old issues of moral reform and jus- 
tice to the Negro. Within the decade from 1874 to 1883 he 
published a series of five novels and one treatise which em- 
bodied his complete argument on sectional and race relations : 
"Toinette" (later renamed "A Royal Gentleman"), "A 
Fool's Errand," 'The Invisible Empire," "Bricks without 
Straw," "John Eax and Mamelon," and "Hot Plowshares." 
Of these "A Fool's Errand" was both the ablest and most 
powerful. It still stands as a strong defense of the conduct of 
one group of actors in a painful quarrel. But the fact remains 
that Tourgee' s work came at the latest possible date when 
such writing could be successful. The eighties was not a decade 
in which belligerency could survive and even Tourgee went 
down to defeat. 

No one realized it better than Tourgee. He was among the 
first to appreciate the completeness of the conquest of the 
Southern pen. "Not only is the epoch of the war the favorite 
field of American fiction today," he wrote in 1888, "but the 
Confederate soldier is the popular hero. Our literature has be- 
come not only Southern in type but distinctly Confederate in 

15 A. H. Quinn, "History of the American Drama from the Civil War to 
the Present Day" (New York, 1927), I, 245. 


sympathy." 16 There was some justification for this observation 
when it could be supported by the fact that, during the year 
Tourgee wrote, nearly two thirds of the stories furnished to 
the newspapers by syndicates were what the trade described as 
"Southern stories." 

For better or for worse Page, Harris, Allen, and their as- 
sociates of the South, with the aid of Northern editors, critics, 
magazines, publishing houses, and theaters, had driven com- 
pletely from the Northern mind the unfriendly picture of the 
South implanted there in the days of strife. In place of the dis- 
carded image they had fixed a far more friendly conception of 
a land basically American and loyal to the best traditions of 
the nation, where men and women had lived noble lives and 
had made heroic sacrifices to great ideals, where Negroes 
loved "de white folks," where magnolias and roses blossomed 
over hospitable homes that sheltered lovely maids and brave 
cadets, where romance of the past still lived, a land where, in 
short, the nostalgic Northerner could escape the wear and tear 
of expanding industry and growing cities and dwell in a Dixie 
of the storybooks which had become the Arcady of American 

Even though this image did not completely eradicate the 
picture of another South which still lynched its Negroes and 
under-educated its whites, the cumulative effect of the litera- 
ture of Southern themes was to soften the tension of sectional 
relations and produce a popular attitude of complacency to 
Southern problems. Not untypical in this respect is the picture 
of an eminent New England clergyman, Thomas Wentworth 
Higginson, who as a youth had led a jail delivery of a re- 
captured fugitive slave, and who in the Civil War had com- 
manded a regiment of Negro troops, sitting in his study 
thirty years after the war had ended with a copy of "Marse 
Chan" on his lap, shedding tears over the death of a slave- 

owner. 17 

16 "The South as a Field for Fiction," Forum, VI (1888), 405. 

17 The incident was related to me by the late Edward Channing. Much the 
same type of story was told with other men shedding the tears, notably 
Dr. Joseph Parker. Page, "Page," 92-93- 



THE spirit of good will which permeated every aspect of 
American life during the eighties received its deepest and sin- 
cerest expression from the aging veterans who once had borne 
the heat of battle. North and South, the soldiers professed to 
be the friends of peace. "You could not stand up day after day 
in those indecisive contests where overwhelming victory was 
impossible because neither side would run as they ought when 
beaten/' averred Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in 1884, "with- 
out getting at least something of the same brotherhood for 
the enemy that the north pole of a magnet has for the south 
each working in an opposite sense to the other, but each un- 
able to get along without the other." * Consequently when the 
war ended it was the soldiers who first forgave. 

It would be difficult to find an opinion more widely asserted 
than this. So often did it appear in the postwar oratory of 
veterans that one is inclined to believe that if all America had 
been on the firing line there would have been no estrangement 
after Appomattox. Yet when an investigation of the activities 
of the formal organizations of veterans is made, important 
qualifications necessarily appear. 

The organization properly claiming to be most representative 
of the Union veteran was the Grand Army of the Republic. 2 
This society, founded in -the first winter of peace, weathered 

1 As quoted in the Boston Advertiser, May 31, 1884. 

2 My account of the G. A. R. is based upon the Proceedings of the Na- 
tional Encampments (1866-1881) ; Journals of the Annual Sessions (1882- 
1900); similar volumes of proceedings of departmental encampments; of- 
ficial newspapers, as the National Tribune (Washington), Home and Coun- 
try (New .York), the American Tribune (Indianapolis), the Grand Army 
Gazette (New York), and the Western Veteran (Topeka) ; and the weekly 
G. A. R. column in the New York Tribune. 


the early storms of hostility and indifference until it assumed 
a prominent place in national life. With a membership of 
thirty thousand in 1878, indicating to this date a slow, uphill 
fight, the G. A. R. grew consistently and rapidly throughout the 
next decade until the peak of four hundred and nine thousand 
was reached in 1890. Thereafter death worked faster than new 
members could be added and the membership gradually de- 
clined until it fell to slightly more than a quarter million at 
the century's close. It may be said that the society was most 
vigorous in the eighties, whereas in the nineties advancing age 
and the steady encroachment of death upon its thinning ranks 
produced in the minds of the younger generation the person- 
ified image that will remain in history as representing the 
Grand Army of the Republic a bent and gray-haired figure 
uniformed in blue, assembling on village lawn or city square 
to recall a former age of heroic deeds. 

The Grand Army soon arrogated to itself the special prerog- 
ative of maintaining inviolate the tradition of national patriot- 
ism. At its first encampment it resolved to stand guard over 
"those great principles" for which its members had fought "dur- 
ing the late war against traitors." 3 As a necessary corollary 
there must be a "just condemnation of that fell spirit of re- 
bellion, which would have destroyed not only the country, but 
rooted liberty itself out of the land." 4 It was natural for men 
who had organized a society whose motive was the preserva- 
tion of war ideals to presume that "those who wore one uni- 
form and fought under one flag, fought for their country and 
were right, while those who wore the other uniform and 
fought under the other banner, fought against their country 
and were wrong, and no sentimental nor commercial efforts to 
efface these radical differences should be encouraged by any 
true patriot." 5 The G. A. R. never retreated from this position. 

In practice this attitude resulted in a jealous surveillance of 
all that appertained to the war, and an adherence to what the 
veterans considered to be the true account of the causes, aims, 
and conduct of the struggle. Committees scrutinized school 

3 Proceedings, First Encampment, 8. 

4 Ibid., Fourth Encampment, 37. 

6 Journal, Thirtieth Encampment, 58. 


textbooks, protested against "false emphasis/' bemoaned the 
absence of words like treason and rebellion, and berated North- 
ern publishers who issued separate texts for Southern sale. 6 
Outside the organization a man might reflect upon the pos- 
sibility of divided right and wrong. Within he was committed 
to belief in a rigid creed which permitted no variation. Such 
a situation gave opportunity for mistaken zealots to dress in 
the garb of patriotism crank theories of history, devotion to 
the flag and loyalty, and pass them off as representative of the 
men who had fought for the Union. Most of the rekindling of 
old animosities may be traced to the essentially false position 
of maintaining an uncompromising attitude toward the truth. 

The members of the G. A. R. professed no desire to keep 
alive or to engender the ill feeling of wartimes. They repeat- 
edly defended themselves against the accusations that their 
memorial services perpetuated a spirit of animosity toward 
their former foes. However, they deemed it unreasonable that 
they should be asked "to forget the sacred cause for which 
their silent comrades died, and cease to glory in its vindication 
and triumph." To them the war had been no "unhappy feud" 
for which an apology was due. Rather was it an heroic con- 
test in which brave men stood together resisting an effort to 
obliterate "the fairest form of government that man ever de- 
vised." Never could they acknowledge that they were wrong. 
Never could they cease to condemn the cause for which their 
enemy had bravely struggled. Nor could they allow the memory 
to "sink into indifference and oblivion." Justice and gratitude 
demanded "that we at least should claim for dead comrades 
the places to which they are rightfully entitled among the 
heroes and martyrs of liberty." 

And yet while thus insisting upon maintaining a distinction 
between "those who died to preserve the Union and those who 
sought to destroy it," the Grand Army readily admitted the 
bravery and sincerity of its opponent in the field. The fraternal 
contacts between the sections that were becoming common in 
the late seventies found a response in the proceedings of the 

6 Ibid., Twenty-second Encampment, 210-217; Twenty~eighth Encamp- 
ment, 250; Thirty-first Encampment, 238. See also B. L. Pierce, "Public 
Opinion and the Teaching of History" (New York), 164-170. 


national encampment. In 1882 the society met for the first time 
"among people whose sympathies and influences were largely 
with the rebellious States during our war for the Union." Bal- 
timore received with marked cordiality ten thousand veterans 
of the Union army, as well as the President of the United 
States, members of his cabinet, the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, the General of the United States Army, and 
others prominent in the national government. The G. A. R. 
invited Southern soldiers to march with them in their pro- 
cession, and when the veterans in Gray responded the occasion 
was hailed as "one of the happy feats of peace which count 
among renowned victories." As a consequence of the "genuine 
hospitality" shown the G. A. R., the encampment prepared an 
address to the city of Baltimore testifying to the "restored 
feeling of brotherly love between the people of the South and 
the people of the North," engraved it on a tablet made of 
metal from Union and Confederate cannon, and presented it 
amid further scenes of peacemaking. 7 

Thirteen years later the G. A. R. encamped a second time 
on the borderland of the South. In the interim persistent 
efforts to secure a meeting for the lower South had failed, but 
the project had revealed a growing spirit of friendship within 
the ranks of the G. A. R. toward the South and on the part 
of Southerners toward the G. A. R. At Pittsburgh, in 1894, a 
"Confederate delegation" from Louisville, led by the eloquent 
spellbinder, "Marse Henry" Watterson of the Louisville 
Courier Journal, appeared before the national encampment of 
the G. A. R. and urgently invited the "boys in blue" to "come 
South" so that their "countrymen who dwell on what was 
once the nether side of the line, but whose hearts beat in ready 
response to your hearts," might greet them "with arms wide 
open." Responding to the fervent persuasion of the Kentuck- 
ian's hyperbole, the encampment voted to meet the next year 
in Louisville, "not because it is the finest city in the Union, 
but because in that invitation, coming from representative men 
who stood for the Lost Cause, we see, as we never have seen 
before, the dawn of that day when every feeling of animosity 

7 Journal, Sixteenth Encampment; ibid., Seventeenth Encampment. For 
a photographic reproduction of the tablet see Harper's Weekly, July 7, 1883. 


upon the part of either section shall be lost and forever lost 
in that patriotic glow for one common country for which we 
are ready to die if necessary/' 8 

The Louisville encampment illustrated the ease with which 
the now aged veterans assumed the role of friends. The cele- 
brations followed the usual round of parades, speeches, ban- 
quets, and tribute-paying over the dead of both armies. 9 Again 
the country had a striking object lesson of the healing influence 
which war memories were exerting. 

So in the end the G. A. R., while sheltering its share of 
cranks, had no place for irreconcilables. No portion of its pro- 
gram was accepted more eagerly or received more space in the 
newspapers than, as its commander in chief declared in 1897, 
the work of strengthening "in those good people [of the South] 
their devotion to the land we all so dearly love, to help blot 
out the resentments of the past/' 10 One wonders why the re- 
sentments which had been blotted out on so many previous 
occasions still needed attention. But the cliches of popular 
oratory are long enduring and are not to be taken too literally, 
More important is the consideration that certain sentiments 
have become conventionalized so that their repetition is ex- 
pected on every occasion. The fact that even the Grand Army 
had fallen into the habit of extending friendly overtures to 
the men they had fought in war is indicative perhaps of the 
fact that "time has softened our griefs, healed our sorrows, 
and obliterated sectionalism/' 11 It is in this light that one 
should interpret the remarks of President McKinley addressed 
to the G. A. R. at Buffalo in 1897 that "the army of Grant 
and the army of Lee are together . . . one now in faith, in 
hope, in fraternity, in purpose, and in an invincible patriot- 
ism/' M It was something at least that an American president 

8 Journal, Twenty-eighth Encampment. 

9 Ibid,, Twenty-ninth Encampment. 

10 Journal, Thirty-first Encampment. 


12 Public Opinion, Sept 2, 1897. It might be noted that lesser organiza- 
tions of Union Veterans reenacted the story of the G. A. R. See as typical 
the meeting of the Army of the Potomac with the Robert E. Lee Camp of 
Confederate Veterans (Reports of the Army of the Potomac for 1885), and 
the encampments of the Army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga and 
Chickamauga (Annual Reports of the Army of the Cumberland, 1881, 
1889, 1892). 


could make such a statement and have it wildly applauded by 
an organization of Union veterans. 

In the South the development of veteran organizations pro- 
ceeded at a slower pace than in the North. The lateness of their 
origin is partially accounted for by the hostility confronting 
"rebel societies/' It may also be explained by the tendency noted 
everywhere of the Southern veteran to withdraw from the 
public gaze and preoccupy himself with the arduous task of 
reconstituting his damaged estate. The first societies were lo- 
cal and restricted in membership. Unlike the North where 
national federation came early and showed the way for smaller 
groupings, the scattered efforts of the former Confederates 
to organize were not concentrated in one body until 1889. Then 
was formed the United Confederate Veterans and a distinct 
impetus given to the activity of the men who wore the Gray. 13 

The problem of the Southern veteran was one of adjust- 
ment. He retained the memory of a manly fight for principle. 
He revered the martyrhood of comrades slain in battle and 
recognized the duty devolving on himself to protect them from 
aspersion. He experienced a warm glow of affection for the 
banner furled forever in defeat and for associations it recalled. 
He could not repudiate and assume a false humility towards a 
past he gloried in. Rather he resented bitterly the epithets of 
rebellion and treason when applied to his conduct. He demanded 
a "true" history of the struggle which would justify his mo- 
tives and explain how men could honestly espouse a cause too 
often execrated by the misunderstanding world outside. But 
while the past was thus to receive its due, the present and the 
future also had their claims. He was back within the Union, 
and daily the widening activities and interests of life urged the 
conviction that it was well the cherished cause of Southern 
independence had gone down in defeat. With a sensitive regard 
to the past, therefore, the ex-Confederate proceeded to ra- 
tionalize the inconsistencies of his position until he arrived 
at a solution which enabled him to salute "Old Glory" while 
retaining his devotion for "the Southern Cross." 

18 Proceedings of the Convention for the Organisation of the United Con- 
federate Veterans; Minutes of the United Confederate Veterans, I, 1889- 
1897. ^ The official organ of the U. C. V. was the Confederate Veteran, the 
first issue of which appeared in 1893. 


All the essentials of the solution may be found in a master- 
ful address delivered in Richmond, Virginia, in 1896 before 
the sixth reunion of the United Confederate Veterans by the 
general agent of the Peabody Education Fund, J. L. M. 
Curry, a former Confederate well known and respected both 
South and North. 14 Curry undertook to explain "why Ameri- 
cans, pure and -simple, without prefix of condition," could 
come together in an association the membership of which was 
based upon an earlier effort to disrupt the American Union. 
This would constitute dishonesty had there not been recon- 
ciliation. But advocating peace and friendship the assembly of 
Confederate veterans had "no such purpose as recital of wrongs 
endured, or indulgence in vain pride, or egotistic laudation." 
They met not "in malice or in mischief, in disaffection, or in 
rebellion, nor to keep alive sectional hates, nor to awaken 
revenge for defeat, nor to kindle disloyalty to the Union." 
They came together "in common love for those who bore the 
conquered banner." Curry then proceeded to demonstrate that 
this "recognition of the glorious deeds of our comrades is 
perfectly consistent with loyalty to the flag and devotion to 
the Constitution and the resulting Union." He was supported 
in this sentiment by the official report of the assembly which 
declared that the Confederate veteran "returned to the Union 
as an equal, and he remained in the Union as a friend. With 
no humble apologies, no unmanly servility, no petty spite, no 
sullen treachery, he is a cheerful, frank citizen of the United 
States, accepting the present, trusting the future, and proud 
of the past." 16 

The Southerners were on the defensive even when assembling 
for such a purpose. Defeated and discredited, they were con- 
fronted by efforts on the part of bigots in the North "to paint 
the Lost Cause in darkest colors, to sully it with crimes more 
horrible than matricide, to overwhelm its supporters with the 
odium and infamy of traitors." Even when the Northern critic 
essayed to be fair and to forgive the past, he frequently was 

Address Delivered before the Association of Confederate Veterans 
(pamphlet, Richmond, 1896). 
15 Minutes , Sixth Reunion. 


unable to appreciate why the supporters of "rebellion" should 
be honored in ways similar to those observed for the upholders 
of the "right." Consequently the Confederate societies as- 
sumed the role of vindicating themselves and their deceased 
comrades in much the same manner as the G. A. R. had con- 
stituted itself the guardian of the fruits of victory. The men 
who had followed Lee and Jackson felt no duty more imper- 
ative than "to see to it that our children do not grow up with 
false notions of their fathers, and with disgraceful apologies 
for their conduct." 

The vindication usually was based upon a careful distinc- 
tion between "constitutional resistance" and "treason." Thus 
Curry defined the war as one "of ideas, in which each army 
signalized its consecration to principles, as each understood 
them." This led him into a long exposition on slavery, nulli- 
fication, and secession, in which he established the mutual 
responsibility of the two sections in regard to slavery, the 
readiness of the North to use the doctrine of nullification when 
coinciding with its interests, and the existence in 1860 of 
secession as a reserved right of the states. He admitted that a 
different interpretation had arisen in the North, but he in- 
sisted that the South adhered to its view with as much legality 
and honesty as did the North. When the "inevitable" con- 
flict arose between the two attitudes, principle and courage 
engaged on either side. The conclusion, once the orator had 
satisfactorily vindicated every one, was easy. The war, or, to 
employ language often used, "the bloody arbitrament of the 
sword," had entirely changed everything. The right of seces- 
sion was abandoned and slavery abolished. The Confederate 
survivors were making good "their asseverations of loyalty to 
the Republic by observing in strictest fidelity the letter and 
spirit of the Constitution." 

It is obvious that such historical analysis might lead to end- 
less wrangling especially when contrasted to the G. A. R/s 
views on the same subjects. But ordinarily the mass of veter- 
ans on each side accepted an easy camaraderie while the .cranks 
fought along in endless wrangling over details that had be- 
come insignificant with the passage of time. The meetings of 


the Confederate Survivors' Association of Augusta, Georgia, 
illustrate the flow of Confederate sentiment as expressed in 
veteran organizations. 16 The annual meetings reveal a surpris- 
ing lack of vindictiveness or bitterness, although such an epi- 
sode as Sherman's march was never mentioned except in 
terms of denunciation. Speakers extolled the virtues of the 
defeated and emphasized the duty of preserving the noble 
traditions of the Lost Cause. Resolutions insisted that the 
"martyred heroes of Dixie" had not been rebels, but "lovers 
of liberty, combatants for constitutional rights, and . . . bene- 
factors of their race." Much attention was devoted to recol- 
lections of the battlefield which led at times to a distrust of 
the utilitarianism of the New South and a fear that its grow- 
ing commercial spirit would tend to belittle the achievements 
of the war generation. Lastly, the veterans of Augusta recog- 
nized the desirability, if not the accomplished fact, of recon- 
ciliation in terms the sincerity of which seems beyond dis- 

Often the aging veteran of the South was made to feel as 
though the spirit of the changing life around him had little 
sympathy for the ideals and characteristics of former years 
years he typified. The indifference with which the young shove 
aside the old, the patronage shown to outworn things by pre- 
occupied youth, must ever bring sadness to the veteran. When 
the normal change is accentuated by the overthrow of all for 
which the old has contended, the experience may well prove 
unbearable. It is not unnatural, therefore, to find the Southern 
veteran seeking emotional relief in sentimentalizing the "Con- 
quered Banner," and in passionate outbursts of popular en- 
thusiasm when opportunity permitted. Two such demonstra- 
tions deserve comment one at Montgomery, Alabama, in 
1886, and the other at Richmond four years later. 

Unfriendly critics in the North might complain that the 
ovation given to Jefferson Davis when laying the foundation 
of a monument to the Confederate dead of Alabama bespoke 
an attachment to the past on the part of Southerners which pre- 
cluded any true regard for the restored Union. Certainly "Dixie 

* 6 Reports of the Annual Meetings of the Confederate Survivors' Asso- 
ciation of Augusta, Georgia (pamphlets, Augusta, 1879-1892). 


reigned" amid scenes of wildest excitement. For three days 
Montgomery revelled in an extravagance of act and utterance 
characteristic of a people lost in sentiment. Retrospection harked 
back to the day twenty-five years earlier when Davis had 
stood on the same spot in the Capitol grounds to take the oath 
of office as president of the newly born Confederacy. Now aged 
and unforgiven by the government that had overthrown the 
fondest aspirations of himself and of his people, he stood again 
the central figure commemorating the Lost Cause. Over his 
head floated the American flag. Before him stood citizens of 
a restored Union. They cheered him fondly as "the highest 
type of Southern manhood." The sympathy with which they 
attended his eulogy and defense of the past testified to the 
sincerity and permanence of their devotion for what he repre- 
sented. Yet through it all no discordant note was struck and 
no one complained of the fate that had overtaken the Con- 
federacy after four brief years of checkered life. If memory 
of the past was a treasured legacy, the Union of the present 
was also a reality in the Southern mind. It was this fact which 
permitted a local newspaper to exclaim without inconsistency, 
"We honor the furled under the unfurled flag," and another 
to hail the event as one "without parallel in history." 17 

Such events, however, were not unparalleled. On May 29, 
1890, Mercie's equestrian statue of Lee was unveiled in Rich- 
mond. The mighty tribute paid the Confederate general was 
worthy of his greatness and testified eloquently of the love in 
which his memory was held. As prominently as at Montgomery 
there was evident an undercurrent of satisfaction that the cause 
had been lost. Military companies bore both flags, that of the 
Confederacy in affection, that of the Union in loyalty. If this 
constituted a paradox it might be explained, as one observer 
noted, "by the fact that the former no longer meant disunion. 
It stood for past trials and heroism in adversity looked back 

17 Newspaper comment of this event is collected in Public Opinion, 
May 8, 1886, and Rowland, "Davis," IX, 419-439. The New York World 
noted the prominence of Yankees in the celebration. An Ohio veteran wear- 
ing his G. A. R. badge supplied the American flags which decorated the 
line of march and hung draped around the platform from which Davis spoke 
his defense of the South. A Northerner was also in charge of the electric 
illuminations, while a Bostonian was the proprietor of the hotel at which 
Davis stayed. 


upon from the standpoint of changed views and unforeseen 
prosperity." 18 

The adjustment thus made lost in time the awkwardness 
of self-conscious rationalization which first characterized its 
appearance. The process was emotionalized as the humiliation 
of defeat passed away and the memory of the men in Gray 
mellowed into a conception of American valor and manhood 
which could be appreciated North as well as South and thus 
no longer cause division. The middle nineties which witnessed 
the G. A. R. love- feast at Louisville and the dedication of Con- 
federate monuments in Chicago and New York, also found 
the spirit of fraternity triumphing within the ranks of the 
United Confederate Veterans. 19 The Houston reunion of 1895 
gave evidence of reconciliation. The permanent committee on 
history reported that "the love of a common country [was] 
now invoking a spirit of truth, concession and fairness in re- 
viewing the causes which led to the war, and in discussing the 
conduct of the war and its results." 20 With his regard for 
the past thus satisfied, the Confederate veteran readily ac- 
cepted his calling as an American, under the same flag and 
with the same destiny as his former enemy in Blue. 21 

Far more than the activities of organized groups of veterans, 
the publication of books of recollections testified to the mel- 
lowing of war memories and the softening of unreconciled 
emotions. It is of course possible to find any sentiment sought 
for in the great mass of reminiscences set on paper during 
the eighties and nineties. But no reservation need be made to 
the generalization that the great majority of veterans, who in 
these later years wrote their memoirs, shared the same spirit 
that prompted George Cary Eggleston-, "A Rebel's Recollec- 
tion" (1875), and John S. Wise, "The End of an Era" 
(1899), to avoid all recrimination and to promote friendly 

^Harper's Weekly, June 14, 1890. See also Public Opinion, June 7, 1890, 
and E. Owen, "The Confederate Veterans' Camp of New York," National 
Magazine, XVII (1892), 455-467. 

19 For the dedication at Chicago see the Confederate Veteran, III (1895), 
176-179. For that at New York see ibid., V (1897), 177. 

20 Ibid., Ill (1895), 163-170. Quotations on page 166. 

21 See as typical H. L. Flash's poem "Memories of Blue and Gray," read 
at the second anniversary reunion of the Confederate Veterans' Association 
of Los Angeles, Sept 25, 1897. H. L. Flash, "Poems" (New York, 1906), 


feelings between the foemen of former years. Richard Watson 
Gilder was typical when he maintained 

. . . never in all the world 
Was braver army 'gainst a braver hurled, 
To both the victory, all unawares, 
Beyond all dreams of losing or of winning. 22 

North and South the soldiers seemed to have outlived their 
prejudices and were now endeavoring to demonstrate "how 
American soldiers pay willing tribute to each other's prow- 
ess." 23 

When the Century Magazine undertook in November 1884 
a three years' task of presenting articles on the Civil War by 
surviving Federal and Confederate leaders, the publishing of 
reminiscences entered upon its most significant phase. 24 The 
editors sought frankly to promote the sentiment of national 
unity by encouraging papers which eschewed all resentment, 
prejudice, and bitterness. They wanted "sincere contributions" 
that "celebrated the skill and valor of both sides/' and "cul- 
tivated the feeling of mutual respect which cemented the re- 
stored Union." Gilder set the pitch. "This is the time for the 
unveiling of all hearts. If the North can see the heart of the 
South, and the South the North's, they will love each other 
as never before ! This is truth and not sentimentalism." 25 

John Hay believed that the country had fallen into a period 
of "blubbering sentiment." 26 Actually the sustained enthusi- 
asm for war memoirs suggested that it had taken the nation 
just twenty years to reach the stage where tragedy could be 
idealized as a noble and inspiring tradition. The veterans had 
forgotten their nightmares. They thrilled to the experience of 

22 R. W. Gilder, "The Great Remembrance," in "Poems of Richard Watson 
Gilder" (Boston, 1908), 197. The poem was written in 1893. 

23 G. F. Williams, "Lights and Shadows of Army Life," Century, 
XXVIII (1884), 810. 

24 The articles appeared in each issue from Nov. 1884 to Nov. 1887. They 
were then collected and published in four volumes under the title of "The 
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" (New York, 1887). Grant, Sherman, 
McClellan, J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, and Longstreet were among the 
contributors. See also R. U. Johnson, "Remembered Yesterdays" (New 
York, 1923), 124-131, and L. F. Tooker, "Joys and Tribulations of an 
Editor" (New York, 1924), 180-188. 

25 Gilder, "Letters," 130-131. 

26 J. R. Thayer, "Life and Letters of John Hay" (Boston, 1915), II, 32. 


finding a new generation grown up around them eager to hear 
the story of the age of heroism. The Century War Series was 
a sensational success. Its message penetrated deep into the na- 
tion's heart. Not one of its varied, vivid, thrilling pages told 
of a war where men went mad with hatred, starved in prison 
camps, and invoked God's aid in damnation of the enemy. 
The history that the veterans told was of a war in which valor 
countered valor, and each side devotedly served the right. The 
blood that was shed was baptismal blood, consecrating the 
birth of a new and greater nation. 

Meanwhile one by one the "lofty actors" of the great drama 
were leaving the stage and becoming memories. Grant, Lee, 
Davis, Lincoln what would posterity do with them? What 
traditions cluster around their names? We take our heroes 
and bend them to our wishes. The aging generation still had 
use of their leaders after death. Before the century closed Lin- 
coln and Lee, Davis and Grant, were idealizations, and the 
idealizations apostles of fraternity. 

Grant was still a soldier when in 1868 he phrased a na- 
tion's yearning in his memorable "Let us have peace." The 
campaign for that elusive good, however, proved more dif- 
ficult than the military problems of the war. From this point 
of view, his presidency was a failure, the magnanimity of 
Appomattox giving way to the excesses of Reconstruction. 
But in retirement the sturdy qualities of the soldier reappeared. 
There was something about Grant which suggested indifference 
to petty quarrels, the bigness of a man who once having fought 
deplores the indulgence of continued strife. His life closed as 
did his "Memoirs" with a fervent prayer for good feeling 
between the sections. Gradually succumbing to an incurable 
disease his tranquil and manly fortitude at Mount McGregor 
won the sympathy of the nation. Throughout his suffering he 
gave evidence of a hearty and unreserved friendliness toward 
those who had fought against the Union. The magnanimity 
of his last words revealed a spirit which went far in compos- 
ing lingering differences. 27 

27 "Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant" (New York, 1885), II, 553-554; 
H. Garland, "Ulysses S. Grant" (New York, 1920), 478-481, 521; Century, 
XXXI (1885), 125-126; Harper's Weekly, Feb. 21, 1885. 


He would not have been displeased, therefore, had he been 
able to witness the union of the sections around his outworn 
body. The entire country felt the bereavement of his loss. Dis- 
tinguished Confederate generals wearing gray sashes served 
as pallbearers with leading officers of the Union army. The 
spectacle was striking and sincere. One who was too young 
to know firsthand the story of the war has left his impressions 
of the scene in a leading New York hotel the night before the 
public funeral: 

The corridors were thronged with well known veterans of both 
armies, but what one chiefly noted in the great gathering was 
that while Union men met Union men like old friends, and Con- 
federates met Confederates in the same manner, Union men and 
Confederates greeted one another like long-lost brothers. I lin- 
gered about for hours. . . . [When] I went home, it was with a 
feeling of pride I shall never forget. I had just witnessed a great 
sight the kindly, open hearted meeting of men who had fought 
bitterly against one another. 28 

It was no "sentimental effusion," therefore, but demonstrated 
sincerity which led representative men to interpret "the memo- 
rable pageant at the tomb of the great soldier" as the "virtual 
conclusion of sectional animosity in America." 29 

If the North welcomed the idea of Confederate pallbearers 
the South showed an equal willingness to bring tribute to her 
conqueror. The generous victor of Appomattox was remem- 
bered, his faults forgiven. One writer who may be taken as 
representative recalled Grant as the savior of the Union in 
which capacity the South was now as grateful for his work as 
was the North. The manifestation of sympathy on the part of 
Southerners, it was generally observed, was spontaneous evi- 
dence of their loyalty, if not of their emotional attachment, 
to the government under which they lived. 30 

28 Tooker, "Joys and Tribulations of an Editor," 46. 

29 Harper's Weekly, Aug. 15, 1885; Boston Advertiser, Aug. 10, 1885; 
Century, XXX (1885), 965; Nation, Aug. 13, 1885. 

80 Harper's Weekly, Aug. I and 8, 1885, quotes from a number of South- 
ern newspapers. Most Southerners who wrote memoirs had distinctly favor- 
able impressions of Grant. See Taylor, "Destruction and Reconstruction," 
149, 242; Gordon, "Reminiscences," 460-464; Clay, "Belle of the Fifties," 
316; and C. E. Merrick, "Old Times in Dixie Land" (New York, 1901), 


A stately marble mausoleum now occupies a majestic site 
overlooking the Hudson. On its southern wall are inscribed 
the words by which its honored inmate is best remembered, 
LET US HAVE PEACE. Grant's wish was realized in his 
death. He entered the traditions of his country as a pacificator. 

Far more than to Grant, it is owing to the great warrior 
who has come to typify the chivalry of the South that the 
Civil War has left no lasting division between the sections. 
Lee's character was free of malice, patient, and motivated by 
an unselfish regard for principle. The South saw in him per- 
sonified all that it cherished most. The North learned in time 
to claim him with pride as an American. Then the Southerner 
found no further need for justification. His advocate was 

Lee's example after Appomattox has been variously ap- 
praised. 31 To some it has seemed that he performed his great- 
est service in leading his countrymen to an acceptance of the 
situation forced upon them. 32 "The questions which for years 
were in dispute," he wrote in August 1865, "having been de- 
cided against us, it is the part of wisdom to acquiesce in the 
result, and of candor to recognize the fact. The interests of 
the State [Virginia] are therefore the same as those of the 
United States. Its prosperity will rise or fall with the welfare of 
the country. The duty of its citizens, then, appears to me too 
plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to 
obliterate the effects of war, and to restore the blessings of 
peace." 3S Invariably recommending this course to his former 
officers and men who came to him for advice, he himself turned 
his back on all contention and devoted the remaining years of 
his life to the training of Virginia's youth. "I have a self-im- 
posed task which I must accomplish," he wrote in assuming the 
presidency of Washington College. "I have led the young men 
of the South in battle; I have seen many of them die in the 
field; I shall devote my remaining energies to training young 

31 D. S. Freeman, "Robert E. Lee" (New York, 1935), IV, chs. 12-28, 
is the definitive account. 

82 Field, "Bright Skies and Dark Shadows," 313-314; Wise, "End of an 
Era/' 344; C. F. Adams, "Lee at Appomattox" (Boston, 1902), 1-30. 

88 J. W. Jones, "Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee" (New York, 
1906), 387. 


men to do their duty in life." 34c Few scenes are more inspiring 
than that of the hero of the Confederacy, the pathos of the 
Lost Cause centering in him, stilling by his example "the angry 
tempest that the war had left behind." 35 

The full significance of Lee's later years was not at first 
apparent. When he died in 1870 the unreconciled sections 
found in the occasion another opportunity to quarrel. The 
North still bracketed him with Benedict Arnold. 86 The South 
denied that he had one aspiration in common with America, 
claiming instead that he was of the South exclusively, a 
"martyr, of whom America was not worthy." 3T Before many 
years had passed, however, Lee the Confederate was to become 
Lee the American, and the South rather than resenting remem- 
bered with satisfaction that Lee had advised the policy of pain- 
ful upbuilding and of embarking upon the new national life 
which was bringing peace and the promise of prosperity. 

It was well for the South that Lee could be represented as 
the "very incarnation of the Confederate cause." That cause 
had been portrayed in the North as an iniquitous attempt to 
destroy a worthy form of government in order to perpetuate 
and extend the institution of slavery. What could better efface 
this impression and establish in its place one of the South 
fighting "for the right as it saw the right" than the picture of 
Lee, torn between two loyalties, deciding after an agonizing 
conflict to follow that which the traditions of birth and up- 
bringing told him to be correct? "As an American citizen," he 
had written early in 1861, "I take great pride in my country, 
her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if 
her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate no greater calam- 
ity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would 
be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am 
willing to sacrifice anything but honor for its preservation." 8S 
The Union in his mind rested voluntarily upon the sovereign 

84 R. E. Lee, Jr., "Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee" 
(New York, 1904), 376. 

35 Field, op. dt., 313. 

3 See as typical Thurlow Weed's letter of Oct. 23, 1870, in T. W. Barnes, 
"Memoir of Thurlow Weed" (Boston, 1884), 467-470; Harper's Weekly, 
Oct. 29, 1870; and Nation, Oct. 20, 1870. 

3T See Lamar's letter in Mayes, "Lamar," 658. 

88 Jones, "Life and Letters of Lee," 121. 


rights of individual states. It could not be maintained by swords 
and bayonets. When force was resorted to in an attempt to 
settle the issues between the sections the Union seemed to him 
dissolved. "Trusting in Almighty God, [and] an approving 
conscience/' he took his stand with his neighbors in defense 
of his state the state of which his father had exclaimed in 
another day of divided loyalties, "Virginia is my country. Her 
I will obey, however lamentable the fate to which it may sub- 
ject me/' 

Whether or not Lee properly analyzed the crisis is beside 
the point. The world saw a man faced with the necessity of 
breaking with a past made memorable by his own people, of fol- 
lowing Virginia out of a Union it had taken the lead to es- 
tablish. The Northern public could appreciate such a picture. 
Standing within the precincts of Washington and Lee Uni- 
versity, delivering the address commemorating the centennial 
of Lee's birth, Charles Francis Adams expressed dramatically 
an opinion which had become general in the North. Having 
recalled the fact that for four years he had stood in arms 
against the Southern leader, Adams asserted that after long 
study and mature reflection he would have done exactly as 
Lee had done under similar circumstances. "It may have been 
treason/' he continued, for Lee to take the position he did; 
"the man who took it, ... sacrificing as he sacrificed, may 
have been technically a renegade to his flag, but he awaits 
sentence at the bar of history in very respectable /company. 
Associated with him are, for instance, William of Orange, 
known as the Silent, John Hampden, the original Pater Patriae, 
Oliver Cromwell, the Protector of the English Commonwealth, 
Sir Harry Vane, once a governor of Massachusetts, and 
George Washington, a Virginian of note." 39 

Geography, then, the accident of a man's birth, and not the 
difference between virtue and moral turpitude, becomes under 
this new dispensation the factor that had divided equally pa- 
triotic Americans into Federals and Confederates. How sim- 
ply the conclusion follows: "Every man in the eleven States 
seceding from the Union had, in 1861, whether he would or 

80 C. R Adams, "Lee's Centennial," in "Studies Military and Diplomatic" 
(M>w York 1911), 305. 


no, to decide for himself whether to adhere to his State or to 
his Nation ; and I finally assert that, whichever way he decided, 
if only he decided honestly, putting self-interest behind him, 
he decided right/ 5 40 

Not every one would have gone so far as Adams. The "right- 
ness" of one's cause and the converse "wrongness" of one's 
opponent are hard for a partisan to surrender. But ordinary 
people find no difficulty in living together harmoniously when 
the defeated generally "accept the situation/' when the victors 
recognize the courage and devotion to principle of the van- 
quished, and the two together join in celebrating "as a price- 
less heritage the memory of the mighty men and glorious deeds 
that the iron days brought forth/' 41 Lee led his people in the 
first, made possible the development of the second in the 
North, and of the third was himself one preeminently honored 
and respected by both sections within a generation of his 
death. When in 1901 he took his place, therefore, in the 
American Hall of Fame in New York City, it was not only 
as a man of war, or as a defender of liberty in the Southern 
sense, but as a great reconciler whom the nation properly re- 
membered with pride. 

The years that brought honor and respect to Lee were ones 
of continued strife for the man who had presided over the 
Confederacy. Jefferson Davis ended his active role on the 
stage of national life in 1868 with his release from imprison- 
ment in Fortress Monroe. From then until his death in 1889 
the broken statesman lived in retirement watching one by one 
nearly every other prominent leader of the war precede him 
to the grave. It would have been well for his peace of mind 
had he achieved that dignified reserve which is content to leave 
to the arbitrament of a later generation judgment of the con- 
troversies in which he had engaged. But the ghosts of past 
disputes were real to Davis. They projected their disturbing 
shades into his retirement and robbed his later years of peace. 
The North heaped unrestrained vilification upon him. The 
South rose in his defense and, without loving him as Lee was 
loved, was equally indiscriminate in its praise. 

40 Ibid., 296. 

41 Letter of Theodore Roosevelt, Srwanee Review, XV (1907), 174-176. 


A man so situated could not avoid occasional indulgence of 
self-pity. Nor could Davis ever free himself from the haunt- 
ing sense of obligation that the cause which once meant all 
to him still needed justification. But the South his people 

was moving steadily along the road of a reunited nation. 
He followed slowly in the wake. His "Rise and Fall of the 
Confederate States/' published in 1881, ended with the recog- 
nition that the war had shown the right of secession to be 
impracticable. His later speeches softened in tone and sug- 
gested the reality of accomplished facts. In his last address he 
stood looking into the faces of young men and spoke briefly 
as follows : 

The past is dead ; let it bury its dead, its hopes, and its aspira- 
tions; before you lies the future, a future of golden promise, a 
future of expanding national glory, before which all the world 
shall stand amazed. Let me beseech you to lay aside all rancor, all 
bitter sectional feeling, and to make your places in the ranks of 
those who will bring about a consummation devoutly to be wished 

a reunited country. 42 

A year later Jefferson Davis was dead. 

An epoch ended with his death. He alone seemed to repre- 
sent a past that could not be assimilated to the present. Others 
received amnesty. Others participated with growing satisfac- 
tion in the expanding life of the New South. Davis remained 
apart, an object of contention until his death. In the nineties 
there emerged an interpretation of the man which promised 
a common ground upon which the sections might stand in 
viewing his life. Davis was then pictured as a statesman who 
remained steadfast to what he conceived to be the true reading 
of the Constitution. But Davis never fitted graciously or com- 
pletely into the pattern of reconciliation. The North in time 
ceased to revile him but it did not learn to admire him. 

Lincoln presented a more complicated problem. So far as 
the North was concerned it is clear that his memory became 
an influence for peace. The heritage of his example tran- 
scended the pettiness of strife, recalling to an erring country 
the greatness of forbearance. The mildness of his policy 

42 Rowland, "Davis," X, 48. 


toward the prostrate South and his hesitancy to attribute guilt 
were remembered after the assassin's bullet left to less capable 
hands and more vindictive wills the awesome responsibility of 
Reconstruction. By the time of the Hayes administration an 
uneasy suspicion existed in the North that in some way a 
grievous and shameful mistake had been committed in handling 
the Southern problem. The ordinary man, unaware of the 
complexity of historical forces, reached out for a simple solu- 
tion which would at the same time ease his conscience. Then 
arose the consoling thought that if Lincoln had been spared 
the tragedy would have been avoided. The might-have-been of 
history fascinated. Had Lincoln lived the North would 
have been magnanimous! 

In a more vital sense the idealization of Lincoln worked for 
fraternity. The elevation of his character meant also the eleva- 
tion of the virtues which he represented. If the North sensed 
in him its most exemplary American it meant that the North 
must define Americanism not in terms of Radical philosophy 
but in terms of Lincoln's life. A broader and more tolerant 
attitude resulted. 

Yet no Southerner ever took the pride in Lincoln that North- 
erners took in Lee. The picture of the Black Republican who 
unleashed the hounds of war did not altogether fade from 
memory although writers like J. S. Wise, Mrs. Pryor, and 
Mrs. A vary filled the pages of their reminiscences with anec- 
dotes of Lincoln's charity and moderation. Joel Chandler 
Harris and Henry Grady paid tributes to the Northern leader 
that indicated that they at least found no awkwardness in 
harmonizing love for the South with an appreciation of Lin- 
coln's greatness, while Watterson went further than any con- 
temporary, North or South, in eulogizing Lincoln as a God- 
inspired leader. 43 Nevertheless Lincoln, like Davis, remained 
essentially the hero of a section. The Southern heart never 
yielded to the sentiment that caused the North to bow in wor- 
ship of its wartime leader. 

Throughout the eighties the routine of daily life brought 
together individual veterans in contacts which furthered the 

43 Address in Chicago, Feb. 12, 1895, H. W. Watterson, "Compromises 
of Life," 137-180. 


work of reconciliation. Little more than the nature and scope 
of these meetings can be illustrated. Usually they were dra- 
matic coincidences possible only in the aftermath of a Civil War 
which had divided families and disrupted friendships of long 
standing. One need but leaf through a volume of reminiscences 
or read an address delivered to veterans in the closing decades 
of the century to find examples of these "individual reunions 
of Blue and Gray/' ** General Gordon reported them assid- 
uously. His best story, that of the succor he administered to 
the wounded Union general, Francis C. Barlow, on the field 
of Gettysburg, and their later friendship in times of peace, was 
typical of many like experiences which Gordon interpreted as 
the "truest indices of the American soldier's character." ** 
General O. O. Howard, while superintendent of West Point, 
witnessed a scene in which "enemies became friends/' Two 
fathers met in his office, one from New York, the other from 
Georgia. Each was bringing a son to the Academy to enter as 
a cadet. In the conversation that ensued it developed that both 
had been wounded at Malvern Hill, falling on the same part 
of the battlefield, one in Blue, the other in Gray. The men 
parted the closest of friends. 46 Such episodes might be multi- 
plied. A traveler recording "glimpses of Dixie" for Harper's 
noted how easily Union veterans traveling in the South 
exchanged reminiscences and how often in relating their 
stock of anecdotes they found common ground for friend- 
ship. 47 

The spirit of good will received a more striking exempli- 
fication in the fraternizing of men in Blue and Gray. Reunions 
of the veterans of a particular locality or section, or of an 
army unit, had not been uncommon in the seventies. With in- 
creasing age and retirement from active life, it was only nat- 

44 See as typical C. F. Manderson, "The Twin Seven- Shooters" (New 
York, 1902) ; N. P. Hallowell, Memorial Day Address (pamphlet, Boston, 
1896), 3-8; J. S. Wise, "End of an Era 1 * (Boston, 1899), 300-301, 449-453; 
J. B. Foraker, "Notes of a Busy Life" (Cincinnati, 1916), I, 30-31; and 
Pryor, "My Day," 214-215. 

45 J. B. Gordon, "Reminiscences of the Civil War" (New York, 1903), 
I05-H9 222, 287, 408. 

46 O. O. Howard, "Enemies Who Became Friends," Boston Globe, 
May 21, 1892. 

4T C. D. Deshler, "Glimpses of Dixie," Harper's Monthly, LI (1875), 667- 


ural that the war generation should live more than ever in the 
memories of past experiences. 48 Reunions became a common 
occurrence, and of these there developed a type hitherto un- 
known in history. The veterans of both armies met in mutual 
celebration, giving a convincing object lesson of the truth 
that those who fought most honorably in war are the first to 
forgive in peace. 

It might be said that the participation of the Virginia and 
South Carolina companies in the Bunker Hill celebration of 
1875 was the first public demonstration of fraternizing be- 
tween the former enemies. That, however, was occasioned by 
an event not of the Civil War, and it was not until 1881 that 
veterans of both armies met for the sole reason of rejoicing 
that they were no longer foes. Then quickly the practice spread, 
culminating in two great spectacles, one commemorating the 
twenty-five anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, the other 
the dedication of the national military park at Chickamauga 
and Chattanooga in 1895. 

In many ways the visit of New York and Boston troops in 
New Orleans during the Mardi Gras festival of 1881 re- 
sembled that of the Southern troops in Boston six years earlier. 
The olive branch passed back and forth. "We of the South" 
the invitation to the Union veterans read, "are anxious to 
show to you of the North that the war is over. . . . Come 
and visit us that we may show you how sincere we are." Where 
all were united in a purpose so apparent it is unnecessary to 
emphasize the interchange of courtesies that marked the visit. 
The popular enthusiasm, already at a high pitch during the 
holiday period, exaggerated the relative importance of the 
episode as "one of the most auspicious circumstances" since 
1865. The Northern troops entered into the festivities with 
hilarity. They spoke glowing words of friendship, and touch- 
ingly decorated the graves of the Confederate dead. Papers 

48 The statement of General M. M. Trumbull, in 1890, is typical: "For 
me the war is an omnipresent reality. ... At the bivouac of memory around 
the old camp-fire we sit and smoke our pipes together once again, I listen 
to their boisterous laughter and their merry jests. Again I hear them sing- 
ing, 'Glory Allelulia/ 'Rally round the Flag,' and I know they are not dead." 
M. M. Trumbull, "Decoration Day Thoughts," New England Magazine, II 
(1890), 381. 


as widely separated as the Philadelphia Record, the New York 
Mercury, the Cincinnati Commercial, and the New Orleans 
Democrat saw fit to hail this holiday excursion as an important 
factor in effecting good will between the sections. Harper's 
Weekly went to the extreme of a full page cartoon in which 
"Louisiana" and "New York" are personified in Gray and 
Blue. They shake hands before an approving Uncle Sam, 
while "Columbia" proudly writes on a map of the United 
States, "No North! No South! But the Union!" 49 

The importance of such an emotional outburst might easily 
be misread. Alone it signified but little. But the Mardi Gras 
reunion was not an isolated phenomenon. It was the forerunner 
of a movement that steadily gathered momentum until it at- 
tained a climax of national interest. A contemporary observer 
enumerating the reunions that occurred between 1881 and 
1887 was able to list twenty-four "more prominent formal" 
ones. 50 To these may be added "informal" meetings such as the 
visit of Connecticut troops headed by Governor Bigelow to 
Charleston, South Carolina, an episode which influenced the 
poet Hayne to write, "strife lies dead 'twixt Gray and Blue," 51 
and the not infrequent return of captured battle flags. 52 Gettys- 
burg alone saw three reunions on its classic battlefield before 
the greater one of 1888. Men in Gray a second time marched 
through the streets of Boston as the John A. Andrew post of 
the G. A. R. played host to the Robert E. Lee camp, Rich- 
mond, of Confederate veterans. An "Ex-Federal and Ex- 
Confederate Association" made its appearance in Kentucky, 
while in another border state, Missouri, the reunion of Con- 
federates was participated in by Federals. Fredericksburg, An- 
tietam, and Kenesaw Mountain were noteworthy instances of 
meetings on battlefields. 53 

It is apparent, therefore, that the country was familiar with 

49 Harper's Weekly, March 19, 1881. The New Orleans episode is fully 
described in J. F. Cowan, "A New Invasion of the South" (New York, 

60 G. L. Kilmer, "A Note of Peace," Century, XXXVI (1888), 440-442. 

51 P. H. Hayne, "Union of Blue and Gray," Harper's Weekly, Nov. 12, 

62 Harper's Weekly, July 14, 1883; Sept. 24 and Oct. i, 1887. 

53 Nation, June 23, 1887; Boston Advertiser, June 17-20, 1887; Harper's 
Weekly, July 9, Sept 10, Oct. i, 1887. 


"Blue and Gray reunions" before the twenty-fifth anniversary 
of the battle of Gettysburg gave opportunity for a spectacle on 
a larger scale. The naturalness with which the Society of the 
Army of the Potomac extended an invitation to the survivors 
of the Army of Northern Virginia is illustrative of the spirit 
of the times. Political and utilitarian interest had not been ab- 
sent from many of the earlier gestures of reconciliation. The 
Gettysburg celebration arose spontaneously from a desire 
"that the survivors of both armies may on that occasion record 
in friendship and fraternity the sentiments of good will, loy- 
alty, and patriotism which now unite us all in sincere devotion 
to our beloved country." M 

In that consists its significance. The number of Confederates 
attending the reunion was not large. But they came with the 
approval of their section and were led by men capable of 
speaking responsibly for those left behind. They were met 
cordially, and mixed with the far larger number of Unionists 
on terms of easy good-fellowship which none at the time 
doubted was sincere. Not for a moment of the three-day en- 
campment was the central theme lost sight of Northern or 
Southern, all spoke the same language of pride in a common 
Americanism. Speakers representing both sides vied with 
each other in extolling the gallantry of the opposing forces 
which gave to North and South an equal share in the glories 
of Gettysburg. Mutually they paid tribute to the other's sin- 
cerity and bravery in waging war. Together they hailed the 
beneficent solution of all disputed issues and welcomed the 
new day of peace and union. If there was a tendency to over- 
look or underestimate the remnants of passion still persisting, 
one truth was obvious, as Curtis emphasized in his oration: 
"The line across the Union drawn by the flaming sword of 
hostile social and industrial institutions, and irreconcilable 
theories of the nature and powers of the government itself" 
had disappeared forever. 56 

The casualness with which the accomplished fact of recon- 

54 Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Potomac, Eighteenth 
Reunion, 9. 

55 Proceedings . . . , Nineteenth Reunion, passim; Harper's Weekly, 
July 7 and 14, 1888; Curtis, "Orations," III, 61-83; Gilder, "Poems," 163; 
Century, XXXVI (1888), 7QI-7Q2. 


ciliation is taken nowadays should not obscure the remarkable 
nature of this scene at Gettysburg. Twenty-five years after 
a sanguinary battle survivors of the opposing armies met 
again in amity to celebrate the outcome. The South had had 
much at issue in 1863. Its defeat involved the greatest suffer- 
ing and humiliation. Yet not one of the Southern soldiers 
listening to General Sickles in 1888 would have dissented 
when he said "To-day there are no victors, no vanquished. As 
Americans we may all claim a common share ... in the new 
America born on this battlefield." It was this feature of the 
Gettysburg reunion which made it seem to contemporaries 
"one of the most remarkable incidents in history/' and gave 
to it great significance as an object lesson to those who still 
stirred among the dying embers of an ancient feud. 

The dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Na- 
tional Military Park, September 18-20, 1895, was the occasion 
for the people of the Mississippi Valley to witness a like event 
which attracted even greater interest and certainly a larger 
representation from the two sections. 56 The dedication was 
provided for by act of Congress. Delegations from both 
Houses of that body accompanied by the Vice-President of 
the United States were in attendance. Twenty-four states were 
officially represented, in fourteen cases by the governor and 
his staff. The Societies of the Army of the Cumberland (Fed- 
eral), the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate), the 
Army of the Potomac (Union), and the Army of the Ten- 
nessee (Confederate) held reunions in conjunction. The Grand 
Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans 
were represented by their presidents. Conservative estimates 
placed forty thousand veterans in the park on the day of its 
dedication, while the lesser meetings, usually reunions of the 
societies, regularly filled the large tent which had been 
erected for the occasion and had a seating capacity of ten 

The opening day was devoted to the dedication of state 
monuments on various parts of the Chickamauga battlefield. 
The sentiment everywhere expressed was pride in the fact 

56 Fully described in The Dedication of the Chickamauga and Chat- 
tanooga National Military Park, 54 Cong., i Sess., Senate Report, No. 637. 


that after thirty-two years the survivors of the two armies 
could meet again on the field of conflict ' 'under one flag, all 
lovers of one country" to "perform an act of unusual signifi- 
cance." In the evening the Society of the Army of the Cum- 
berland held its annual reunion in the tent at Chattanooga and 
invited the Confederates to meet with them. A fair number of 
men in Gray attended and heard their spokesman, Hilary A. 
Herbert, declare that the present loyalty to the Union on the 
part of those "who once fought so bitterly against it, is the 
crowning glory of the heroes in Blue." The sections shared 
alike in the dedication exercises of the Nineteenth, the orators 
being chosen from Illinois and Georgia. That evening the two 
Societies of the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the 
Cumberland held a common reunion. The concluding day was 
marked by the dedication of the Chattanooga portion of the 
field, and a reunion of the Societies of the Army of Northern 
Virginia and the Army of the Potomac. 

Some twenty-three years before this scene at Chickamauga, 
in the heat of the Reconstruction period, Charles Sumner, 
remembering the policy of republican Rome where warfare 
between citizens was not officially recorded, had risen in the 
United States Senate to propose : 

Whereas the national unity and good-will among fellow-citizens 
can be assured only through oblivion of past differences, and it 
is contrary to the usages of civilized nations to perpetuate the 
memory of civil war; therefore, be it enacted, etc., that the names 
of battles with fellow-citizens shall not be continued in the Army 
Register, or placed on the regimental colors of the United States. 

He was not then alone in fearing that the preservation of war 
memories would perpetuate war passions, and those who be- 
lieved as he did recognized in his action a sincere effort to 
restore harmony between the embittered sections. But, hatred 
or no, the trials and sacrifices of war had become too much 
a part of the nation's being thus lightly to be erased. In the 
long night of sordid contention through which the North and 
South passed before true peace was realized the people clung 
to the ennobling memory of four years' heroic effort, until in 
time, at Gettysburg and at Chickamauga, they welcomed the 


mellowed recollection of their quarrel as a bond of union, 
where once they feared it might divide. No blame to Sumner 
that he could not foresee the role that soldiers were destined 
to play in reconciliation. Something remarkable in history had 


POLITICS 1880-1898 

DESPITE the potency of the new forces that were transforming 
American life the activity of the major political parties re- 
mained rigidly fixed in patterns established by the bitter con- 
troversies of the Civil War and Reconstruction. No political 
leader of the era seemed aware of the new horizons, the new 
activities, and the new emotions that were affecting the people 
in everyday pursuits. No party platform grasped or intelligently 
phrased the issues arising from the development of a new and 
far more complex economic organization of society. No states- 
man capitalized upon the spirit of the new nationalism to bring 
its surging power into harmony with the aspirations of a 
people seeking a richer life. The dead issues of a passing era 
remained to nullify the significance politics might have for a 
living age. 

The major parties were stalemated, with ancient watchwords 
inappropriate to modern issues and fossilized alignments tin- 
responsive to new demands. In election after election the aver- 
age man voted out of habit and without much thought for 
candidates who had little vision and less constructive ability. 
Cheap men with low standards of public conduct reached high 
office to corrupt government and divorce it from positive 
achievement. Given such a situation, political activity was a 
factor detrimental to the nationalizing process, even as it 
operated to retard every other progressive movement of the 

The strife-filled years previous to 1880 had given to each 
of the major parties a traditional allegiance. Roughly speaking, 
the Solid South, the working classes and immigrant groups of 
the eastern cities, and a large proportion of debtor farmers In 


the West were Democratic. New England, the propertied 
groups, especially the investors and tariff-protected manu- 
facturers, and the more prosperous farmers were Republican. 
Actually the two parties were nicely poised with neither in full 
command of the national government. Control of Congress 
fluctuated between narrow margins and no President from 
Hayes to McKinley enjoyed more than four continuous years 
in office. Groups of discontented reformers and new voters 
held the balance of power, and each recurrent election saw them 
make a "choice of evils" between an errant Republicanism and 
a still discredited Democracy. The evenness of party strength 
contributed to the lack of consistent achievement. It also pro- 
duced a bitter scramble for votes in which the habitual argu- 
ments of the past were not allowed to die. 

Conditioning all political activity was the fact that the 
parties had been shaped in the era of sectional controversy. 
The only issue that made division between Democrats and Re- 
publicans intelligent was the North-South rivalry. On the issues 
of tariff, control of corporations, railroad regulation, finance, 
civil service reform, honesty in politics, and labor organization, 
the divisions were intra-party rather than inter-party. Conse- 
quently all living issues were straddled or ignored, while easy 
retreat into the past was resorted to whenever and wherever the 
party chieftains felt it would succeed. 

Not untypical of the apprehensions deeply rooted by a 
generation of partisan campaigning were the many ordinary 
people who went to the polls in November 1884 in the North 
believing that the election of Cleveland would mean the re- 
enslavement of the Negro and in the South convinced that a 
victory for Elaine would cause the recrudescence of Recon- 
struction evils. The case of Albert J. Beveridge, of Indiana, 
was the common experience of his generation. "I was born/' 
he wrote, "when the Civil War was reaching its red climax; 
and my father and brothers were all officers in the Union Army. 
From earliest infancy I was taught that 'Uncle Tom's Cabin* 
and the speeches of Wendell Phillips, Sumner, and others like 
them, were the real truth." x The youthful Theodore Roosevelt 

1 Beveridge to W. C Ford, March 2, 1926, quoted in C G. Bowers, 
"Beveridge and the Progressive Era" (Cambridge, 1932), 575. 


entered upon his political career believing that the annexation 
of Texas, the Mexican War, the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise, the Dred Scott decision, and the Civil War itself were 
treasonable conspiracies of an aggressive and arrogant slavoc- 
racy. Counterparts of these Northern views, are readily found in 
the South, where service in the Confederate army was almost 
an indispensable prerequisite of political success, where few 
political orations omitted a reference to the nightmares of Re- 
construction, and where Jefferson Davis' s "The Rise and Fall 
of the Confederate Government" taught as partisan a creed in 
regard to the past as did the Yankee Henry Wilson's "The Rise 
and Fall of the Slave Power/' 

Nevertheless the early eighties gave ample evidence that the 
nation was growing weary of the sectional issue in politics. 
President Garfield took occasion in his inaugural address to 
phrase platitudes about a reunited nation and "countrymen, 
who do not now differ in our judgment concerning the con- 
troversies of past generations." His assassination a few months 
later gave politicians a chance to join with the nation at large 
in a sincere demonstration of common patriotism. 2 President 
Arthur's first annual message to Congress in December 1881 
made no reference of any sort to the South, a fact which caused 
many commentators to observe that this had not occurred be- 
fore in any presidential message for over a quarter of a century. 
Harper's Weekly entered upon the Congressional campaigns 
of 1882 asserting that "there is no longer a bloody shirt in 
politics" and the elections of that year did take place in an 
atmosphere of moderation which indicated that the observation 
was more than wishful thinking. 8 

It was not the partisan politician, however, who hailed these 
auguries of a new day of sectional peace, but moderates and 
reformers who sought to discard the "bloody shirt" so that 
"henceforth the people can turn away from old issues and 
direct their attention to those questions of civil service and 
revenue reform . . . that have too long been kept in the back- 
ground." 4 R. W. Gilder opened the columns of the Century to 

2 Supra, 141-142. 

* Harper's Weekly, March 18, 1882. 

4 W. M. Barrows, in a paper on "The New South" read before the 


editorials and articles on "the difficult and delicate questions, 
such as the questions of the tariff, of the domination of cor- 
porations, of the secret and corrupt government of our munic- 
ipalities by irresponsible 'bosses.' " 6 In the South Joel Chandler 
Harris hoped for a national Democratic victory in 1884 so 
that the North could be shown "that the new generation of the 
South is really and thoroughly devoted to the Union and to the 
vast interests of the American republic." 6 Shrewdly capitalizing 
upon the growing chorus of protests against the persistence of 
old issues in politics, General E. S. Bragg, in seconding the 
nomination of Grover Cleveland before the National Demo- 
cratic Convention of 1884, demanded that "our old war horses 
be retired with honor. Let the record of their achievements be 
recorded and pointed at with pride and pleasure ; but our people 
say give us new life, give us new blood, give us something that 
has come to manhood and position since the war, that we may 
hear no more about what took place before and during the 

war." 7 

The proponents of the new political order sang an anthem 
of sectional harmony rich in dulcet tones. Recent history was 
resurveyed to prove the thesis that the Solid South and in- 
justice to the Negro were inescapable concomitants of a harsh 
policy of Northern coercion and distrust. The departure from 
the policy since 1877 had, according to men like Gilder, Carl 
Schurz, G. W. Curtis, and E. L. Godkin, resulted in the develop- 
ment of law and order in the South, greater security and in- 
creasing participation in politics for the Negro, and a "gratify- 
ing drift" toward broader and more liberal divisions of opinion. 
A final interment of the "bloody shirt" would mean the dis- 
integration of the Solid South and the permanent elimination 
of the Southern question from party contests. 8 

National Convention of the Home Missionary Society at Saratoga, N, Y., 
June, 1884. 

5 Gilder to James Bryce, May 8, 1883, "Letters of R. W. Gilder," 116. 

6 Harris to R. U. Johnson, Sept. 28, 1884, Johnson, "Remembered Yes- 
terdays," 383. 

7 "Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention of 1884," 176. 

8 See as typical, Schurz, "Party Schisms and Future Problems," North 
American Review, CXXXIV (1882), 431-435; Nation, May 25, 1882, and 
Sept 18, 1884; and editorial, "The Political Situation/' Atlantic Monthly, 
LXIX (1882), 393-398. 


The intellectuals who thus so plausibly prophesied a pleasing 
future for Southern politics expected to receive an especially 
cordial response from the newer generation of voters who had 
come of age since Lee had surrendered at Appomattox and 
Lincoln had gone to a martyr's grave. It seemed utterly im- 
possible to Thomas Wentworth Higginson in 1884 that "the 
formidable element of youth" could be marshaled beneath the 
banners of the Civil War. 9 Had Higginson opened his Boston 
Daily Advertiser for October 21, 1884, he might have read a 
speech delivered by a twenty-six-year-old tyro in politics named 
Theodore Roosevelt, soundly berating the South and the 
Democratic party for attempting "to rule the Union with loaded 
dice." And out in Indiana the youthful Beveridge was winning 
his spurs by imitating the "bloody shirt" oratory of his elders. 10 
Nevertheless the eighties did witness a definite transition in 
the personnel of party leadership. An older cycle merged with a 
new. The traditional arguments could never again have the 
reality they once possessed. Wendell Phillips was among those 
who lamented that voters who had been in their cradles when 
the war broke out could never know the full infamy of the 
South and consequently would not respond to the fundamental 
issues of right and wrong. 11 

In 1884 a baby born when the Confederacy reached its high- 
est tide at Gettysburg could vote for President without memory 
of slavery or the Civil War. In 1888 nearly two-fifths of the 
voting population was under thirty years of age. In the same 
year not more than one- fourth of the electorate was old enough 
to have cast a vote in 1860. No one remained in the Senate 
who was there when Preston Brooks made his assault on Sum- 
ner. Of the representatives who held office when Lincoln was 
elected, John Sherman, now in the Senate, L. C. Q. Lamar, now 
a Supreme Court Justice, and Allen G. Thurman, still in the 
House, were the sole survivors active in national affairs. When 
the President of the Confederacy died in 1889 he had been 
preceded to the grave by his Vice-President, twelve out of the 
sixteen men he had appointed to Cabinet positions, and thirty- 

S T. W. Higginson, "Young Men's Party/' reprint from the New York 
Evening Post, Oct. 4, 1884. 

10 Bowers, "Beveridge," 22-31. 

11 North American Review, XCIX (1878), gg. 


seven of the forty-nine signers of the Confederate Constitution. 
A new generation had arrived and the old issues were expir- 
ing with the men who had given them the breath of life. 12 

Momentarily it seemed as though even the most convinced 
partisan would .surrender the frayed garment of the "bloody 
shirt." James G. Elaine in his letter accepting the Republican 
nomination for the presidency in 1884 made a gesture of friend- 
ship to the South. He gave his approval to the growing con- 
fidence and mutual esteem existing between the sections and 
deplored any suggestion of fighting the campaign upon issues 
which grew out of the memories of the past. The honeyed 
words died upon his lips, however, when it was early demon- 
strated that the South would remain solidly Democratic. The 
plumed knight again donned his shining armor to attack treason, 
defend the Negro, and rally a united North against the enemies 
of the Republic. 

The traditionalist in politics saw no reason why in 1884 an 
attack on conventional lines should not again prove successful. 
Democratic rule was still unpalatable to purists like Godkin who 
repeatedly lectured the South for its "misguided alliance" with 
the "corrupt and unintelligent" elements of the North. The be- 
lief that a national Democratic administration would disturb 
business, debase the currency, deprive the Negro of his rights, 
pay the rebel debt, pension the Confederate veteran, and bring 
general disaster had been painstakingly elaborated by years of 
Republican campaigning. A large proportion of the good people 
of the North entertained a vague conviction that the only normal 
condition for the country was to have a Republican in the 
White House. This attitude was perfectly, if somewhat bla- 
tantly, expressed by Eugene Feld : 

These quondam rebels come to-day 

In penitential form 
And hypocritically say 

The country needs "Reform !" 
Out on reformers such as these ; 

12 For various comment on this phenomenon, see E. P. Clark, "The 
New Political Generation," Century, XXXVI (1888), 851-854; Nation, 
Sept. 10, 1885, and Sept. 22, 1887 ; Harper's Weekly, Feb. 20, 1886 ; Schurz, 
"The New South," 21-22; and McClure, "The South/' 60-62. 


By Freedom's sacred powers, 
We'll run the country as we please ; 
We saved it and it's ours. 

The Southern question, however, received comparatively 
little attention in the campaign. 18 It certainly exercised no deci- 
sive influence on the outcome. The dominant issue was probity 
in public office. Here Elaine was vulnerable. A powerful group 
of independent Republicans considered him "tainted," bolted 
the ticket, and supported the Democratic candidate, Grover 
Cleveland, whose stubborn fight for honest government in New 
York State had endeared him to the reforming element. The 
"bloody shirt" was only one of the devices (and insignificant, 
indeed, when compared to the use made of whispers against 
Cleveland's private life) by which the alarmed managers of the 
Republican party attempted to stop the tide which resulted iti 
Cleveland's election. 

Elaine attributed his defeat in large measure to a Solid South 
which rested upon the fraudulent disf ranchisement of the Negro. 
Murat Halstead, the gifted journalist, developed the idea, and 
warned the country that the conduct of the South was a menace 
of reviving sectionalism. 14 So began a new crusade. The Re- 
publican press with the New York Tribune in the van vigor- 
ously condemned "the new rebellion against the establishment 
of manhood suffrage." Even such a conservative-minded gentle- 
man as W. M. Evarts added his apprehensive voice to the 
clamor. Orthodox Republican dogma maintained that the 
Democrats had gained power by suppressing the Constitution 
and desecrating the "sacred ballot" in the Southern states. 15 
The corollary seemed inescapable. The Republicans when re- 
turned to office would force the South to give the Negro free 
and open access to the polls. 

On the other hand, those who had supported Cleveland 
widely proclaimed that his election marked an epoch in re- 

13 H. C. Thomas, "The Return of the Democratic Party to Power in 
1884" (New York, 1919), is an excellent analysis of the campaign. See also 
Schlesinger, "Rise of the City," 396-401 ; and A. Nevins, "Grover Cleveland" 
(New York, 1932), 145-188. 

14 M. Halstead, "Revival of Sectionalism," North American Review, 
CXL (1885), 237-250. 

15 See as typical C. M. Clay, "Race and the Solid South/' North Ameri- 
can Review, XCLII (1886), 134-138. 


conciliation. Southern newspapers were unanimous in ex- 
pressing the opinion that the return of the Democratic party 
to power "swept away all sectional distinctions/' "brought the 
South back into the Union/* and "gave it the opportunity of 
impressing itself upon the national policy." 16 Moderate North- 
ern journals like the New York Times and the Evening Post 
informed their readers that the era of political sham had come 
definitely to an end. Never again, in their opinion, would the 
voters of the North be frightened by the hobgoblins of "bloody 
shirt" oratory. Travelers in the South reported "unclouded 
peace and trust" between the sections. 17 The theme of a nation 
reunited in spirit as well as in name reverberated through all 
the comment of Democrats and Independent Republicans exult- 
ing in their triumph. "There never has been such a rupture," 
exclaimed Henry Ward Beecher, "never such a conflict, never 
such a victory, never such a reconstruction, . . . never such 
a reconciliation and gladness between good men on both sides 
as come to us today." 18 

Actually the truth lay somewhere between Republican sullen- 
ness and Democratic exuberance. The Solid South was to reap- 
pear as a bugbear used to keep the Republican party united, 
Cleveland was to face angry attacks of Civil War veterans 
and to have his patriotism assailed. The deep-rooted and far- 
reaching conviction that the Republican party was more Ameri- 
can than the Democratic and normally should be in power was 
not destroyed. Yet the friends of reconciliation could point to 
a number of factors which unquestionably moved the balance 
in their favor. 

It was indeed a progressive step to have men like Godkin, 
Schurz, and Curtis, with the large group of Independents they 
represented, support an honest Democrat rather than continue 
the irresponsible rule of stalwart Republicanism. It at least 
gave variety to the picture to see Thomas Nast use the same 
savage technique of caricature against Elaine that he had once 

16 Files of the Atlanta Constitution, the Charleston News and Courier, 
and the Louisville Courier- Journal for Nov. 1884. See also H. W. Watterson, 
"The Reunited Union," North American Review, CXL (1885), 22-29. 

17 McClure, "The South," 53-54; Schurz, "New South," 31. 

18 H. W. Beecher, "Retrospect and Prospect," an address delivered 
Nov. 27, 1884, reprinted in Beecher, "Patriotic Addresses," 835. 


employed against Greeley. 19 It was significant that veteran Re- 
publicans like Lyman Trumbull and former abolitionists like 
J. M. Forbes and Thomas W. Higginson would leave a party 
they had helped to found, accept the Democratic ticket as honest 
and patriotic, and declare that a Republican, Elaine, constituted 
the real menace to the nation's future. 20 Most significant of all, 
the election of Cleveland restored to office a party that had been 
discredited for a generation and gave to millions of Americans 
the opportunity of dispelling the aspersions on their loyalty. 

The vacuity of national politics in this era is perfectly 
demonstrated in the fact that, except in the matter of honest 
administration where Cleveland proved an able and sturdy 
champion, the restoration of the Democrats made no appreciable 
change in any national policy. At every other stage in our his- 
tory when a new party or an old party long out of power won 
the presidency far-reaching reversals of policy ensued. The 
election of Jefferson in 1800 was spoken of as a ''revolution." 
Jackson's victory in 1828 resulted in dynamic alterations which 
indicated that the apprehensions of his conservative opponents 
were not without a basis of fact. Lincoln's election in 1860 
changed the course of American history. Wilson in 1913 and 
F. D. Roosevelt in 1933 came to the presidency with programs 
of radical reform. But in spite of all the extremes of partisan 
invective, the prophecies for good and evil, and the fears of 
Confederate domination, Cleveland's administration proved not 
unlike those of Hayes and Arthur. The new President was an 
eastern conservative. He threatened no established interest and 
promised only honest and vigorous administration. He was a 
perfect choice to dissipate the superstition that the Democratic 
party with its Southern wing would or could disturb the exist- 
ing order. His tenure of office demonstrated convincingly the 
hollowness of the pretensions that the sectional issue had any 
significance in the political life of the nation. 

Efforts were made at the outset to assure the country that 
the new administration meant no interruption in the regular 
course of government. The Atlanta Constitution affirmed that 

19 Harper's Weekly, July-November, 1884. 

20 Trumbull to Tilden, June 7, 1884, "Tilden Letters," II, 642; Forbes, 
"Recollections and Letters/* 208. 


"the negro will find his best friend in the Southern Democrat." 
Nast pictured Grover Cleveland bringing the white Southerner 
and the Negro together in a cordial handclasp. 21 Schurz cor- 
roborated the opinion that the freedom and rights of the 
black man "do not depend upon the predominance of any 
political party, but are safe under the one as well as the other." 22 
McClure and Curtis reassured the "sensitive capitalist" and 
Northern business man and promised "a priceless blessing 
in the absolute and stable faith [Cleveland's election] . . . 
has established between the material interests of the two 
sections of the country." 23 Cleveland himself devoted an im- 
portant section of his inaugural to allaying fears that his 
course of action would disturb the status quo of sectional re- 

The influence of the South in national affairs was not much 
greater under Cleveland than it had been under Hayes and 
Arthur, A tremendous gain in morale did result from the feel- 
ing that a "friendly" administration sat in Washington and 
that the older proscriptions had been removed. Southerners 
valued the sense of security that came from the knowledge 
that no federal measure of force would be enacted to interfere 
with their election practices. They expressed gratification over 
the appointment of two ex-Confederates, Lamar of Mississippi 
and Garland of Arkansas, to cabinet positions. But while the 
New York Tribune grumbled over the honor given to these 
"Rebel Brigadiers," most Northerners recognized the men as 
conservatively inclined and completely loyal to the restored 
Union. 24 Cleveland's point of view was distinctly Northern in 
focus. He at no time "thought as a Southerner," and he relied 
chiefly upon eastern friends for advice. 

There were times when even Republicans seemed ready to 
admit that the Southern issue was dead and that a new era 
of good feeling had arrived. John Sherman stated in 1886 that 
the South must be let alone to work out its own salvation and 
confessed that much that he and his party had attempted in the 
past was based upon the false principle of meddling in local 

21 Harper's Weekly, Nov. 22, 1884. 

22 Schurz, "The New South," 31. 

23 McClure, "The South," 53-54 ; Harper's Weekly. Nov. 15, 1884. 
** Harper's Weekly, March 14, 1885. 


affairs. 25 Most curious of all, perhaps, was a speech made in 
Faneuil Hall by Henry Cabot Lodge before a reunion of Blue 
and Gray veterans. Because of Lodge's later prominence as a 
"Force Bill" statesman it is well to put the rising young politi- 
cian fully on record. 

We respect and honor the gallantry of the brave men who fought 
against us, and who gave their lives and shed their blood in de- 
fense of what they believed to be right. We rejoice that the 
famous general [Lee] . . . was one of the greatest soldiers of 
modern times because he, too, was an American. We have no 
bitter memories to revive, no reproaches to utter. Reconciliation 
is not to be sought, because it exists already. . . . Your presence 
here . . . breathes the spirit of concord, and unites with so many 
other voices in the irrevocable message of union and goodwill. 
Mere sentiment some may say. But it is sentiment, true sentiment, 
that has moved the world. Sentiment fought the war and sentiment 
has reunited us. 26 

Until Cleveland sent his message to Congress in December 
1887 asking for a reduction in the tariff, there was no real 
issue upon which he as a Democrat could divide with the Re- 
publicans. Primarily for this reason the attacks made upon him 
were for the most part sham affairs which sought to bring 
his "patriotism" into question. 27 Cleveland's sense of economy 
and honesty in government influenced him to scrutinize with 
greater care than any of his predecessors the increasing de- 
mands of Union veterans for pension awards. In all he vetoed 
more than two hundred individual pension bills and in Febru- 
ary 1887 he refused his signature to a general dependent pen- 
sion bill. These vetoes gave his opponents the opportunity of 
representing the President as inimical to the Union veterans. 
A vociferous campaign of abuse ensued in which the "old sol- 
dier" was pressed into service as a pawn in the game of 
politics. 28 

25 Speech at Washington cited in Sherman, "Recollections/* II, 949-953. 

26 Boston Daily Advertiser, June 18, 1887. The speech is reprinted in 
Lodge, "Speeches and Addresses, 1884-1909," 25-30. 

27 For example, the attack upon Lamar's appointment to the Supreme 
Court, Mayes, "Lamar," 523-538. 

28 Press comment of all shades of opinion on this topic is given in great 
detail in Public Opinion, II, III and IV (1886-1887), passim. 


New fuel was added to the controversy by a blunder on the 
part of one of Cleveland's underlings. The War Department 
had in its possession a number of captured Union flags which 
had been recovered on the fall of the Confederacy and Con- 
federate flags taken in battle by Union troops. The practice for 
some years had been to return the Union flags upon proper re- 
quest to organizations within the Northern states. The Ad- 
jutant-General, R. C. Drum, thought the time had at last arrived 
when it would be a propitious and gracious act to return all the 
flags, Union and Confederate, to the states for preservation. 
The Secretary of War and President Cleveland approved the 
suggestion and letters offering the flags were dispatched to the 
governors. 29 

A veritable storm of protest broke about the person of the 
unsuspecting Cleveland. The Republican press denounced the 
"monumental treason" of a "sneaking doughface/' so Resolu- 
tions poured in from Grand Army of the Republic posts 
throughout the North. General Fairchild, Commander of the 
G. A. R., was quoted as exclaiming "May God palsy the hand 
that wrote that order ! May God palsy the brain that conceived 
it ! May God palsy the tongue that dictated it I" 31 The St. Louis 
Republican considered the excitement "a strange anachronism 
in the bustling, prosperous, peaceful life of the present. For an 
instant it seemed that time had turned backward for a quarter 
of a century and that the passions which precipitated the 
carnage of civil war were still in their first heat and glow. 
Then it passes, and we see that it is not a development of the 
life of the present, but only old men's memories." 32 Whether 
Cleveland would have persevered in his intention is a matter 
for speculation. It was discovered that the flags could not be 
returned without an act of Congress and Cleveland revoked the 
order. Years later in the administration of Theodore Roose- 
velt a Republican Congress made the restoration which a 
Democratic President was prevented from performing. 

Not "old men's memories" but current politics instigated the 

29 Fiftieth Congress, First Session, House Executive Document Number 
163; Richardson, "Messages and Papers of the Presidents," VIII, 578-579. 

30 Public Opinion, III (1887), 229-234. 

S1 New York World and New York Tribune, June 16 and 17, 1887. 
32 St. Louis Republican, June 18, 1887. 


excitement. Issues were hard to find and Republican chieftains 
were desperately in need of ammunition. John Sherman per- 
fectly exemplified the absurdity of their antics. This veteran 
of many partisan campaigns, now Senator of Ohio, aspired to 
the presidential nomination in 1888 and was vigorously attempt- 
ing to impress his somewhat cold personality upon the rank and 
file of the party. In March 1887 the Senator spoke at Nashville, 
Tennessee, where he adroitly made gestures of peace and ex- 
pressed confidence that the South could handle its own "local" 
problem of the Negro. June i, 1887, however, found him ad- 
dressing the Illinois State Legislature in Springfield. On this 
occasion he divided the American people into Republicans and 
Confederates and dismissed the Democrats as the left wing 
of the Confederate army. He dwelt upon the atrocities in- 
flicted upon the Negro in the South and promised his audience 
that he would use his power in Congress to secure a fair count 
of the Republican vote in the Southern states. This reversal of 
opinion seemed not at all inconsistent to Sherman. In his own 
words he explained, "At Nashville it was expected that I 
would make a conciliatory speech, tending to harmony be- 
tween the sections, while at Springfield I could only make a 
partisan speech, on lines well defined between the two great 
parties." S3 

Sherman next attempted to "spruce up" the voters of his own 
state where Governor Foraker was waging a battle for re- 
election. At Wilmington he assailed the "tenderfeet . . . who 
would banish the word 'rebel' from our vocabulary, who would 
not denounce crimes against our fellow-citizens, [and] who 
thought that ... we must surrender our captured flags to 
the rebels who bore them." 3 * A "bloody shirt" campaign was 
Foraker's idea of what the people wanted. Foraker in some ways 
resembled Elaine, brilliant in personality, eloquent, extremely 
partisan, "popular," according to ex-President Hayes, "with 
the hurrah boys," but distrusted by the sober and conservative 
element of the Republican party. He had gained national atten- 
tion in the battle flag episode by a comic-opera defense of the 

83 Sherman, "Recollections," 984-986; Harper's Weekly, April 9, and 
June 11, 1884; Century, XXXIV (1887), 310; Public Opinion, III (1887), 


34 Sherman, "Recollections," 999. 


Confederate flags in the State House at Columbus. He con- 
cluded from this experience that the people desired "to hear 
Cleveland flayed, and they expected me to do it. ... They 
wanted hot stuff and got plenty of it." His judgment was ap- 
parently correct inasmuch as he won the election. 85 

Sherman failed to gain the nomination he coveted, but his 
activity and the success of Foraker in Ohio gave prominence 
to the suppression of the Negro vote in the South and sug- 
gested its use as a major topic in the presidential campaign 
of i888. 36 Murat Halstead, of the Cincinnati Commercial- 
Gazette, and other Republican editors had much to say to the 
effect that the Democratic party owed its control of the presi- 
dency and the lower house of Congress to the nullification of 
the Constitution. 37 Benjamin Harrison, who was to secure the 
Republican nomination for the presidency, made it the theme 
of an important political speech in Detroit on Washington's 
Birthday. 88 There was no doubt or denial (Watterson frankly 
admitted it) of the fact that Negroes were not permitted to 
vote in the South. 89 The only query was whether the Republican 
party would follow up its agitation by proposing a remedy. 
Would the party dare espouse a measure to use Federal force 
for the purpose of re-imposing Negro suffrage on the South ? 

The prospect was not an appealing one to those Republicans 
who remembered the tragedies and embarrassments of the Re- 
contruction era. There were many who had wearied of the 
Negro problem and the endless sectional controversies it in- 
volved, and who suggested that the wisest statesmanship 
would be to leave the settlement to non-political agencies. 40 
The New York Times wisely advised the Republican managers 
to forego the perils of fighting another campaign on the issue 
of the Solid South. The great party, it cautioned, was in danger 
of "steadily wasting away as the Whig party did when it in- 

85 J. B. Foraker, "Notes of a Busy Life" (Cincinnati, 1916), I, 240-242, 
277-283, 422. 

86 Harper's Weekly, Dec. 10, 1887. 

87 Public Opinion, VII and VIII (1887, 1888), passim, gives copious 
extracts from the press. 

88 B. Harrison, "Speeches of Benjamin Harrison, 1888-1892" (New 
York, 1892), 12-13. 

89 Harper's Weekly, April 14, 1888. 

40 See the editorial comment in the Philadelphia Inquirer, as quoted in 
Public Opinion, II (1887), 214-215. 


sisted on voting on dead issues and ignoring living ones/' 41 
Yet where could the party find an issue? The country was 
prosperous. Cleveland's record in administration was invulner- 
able. No one dared to touch the currency question. No one 
believed the Southern issue kept as many votes within the 
party as it drove out. Hence, as the year 1887 drew to a close, 
great pessimism prevailed among the Republican leaders. Cleve- 
land's reelection the next year seemed a certainty. 42 

From this unhappy dilemma Cleveland himself inadvertently 
rescued his opponents. His annual message to Congress in 
December 1887 broke all precedents in that it was devoted to 
a single topic, the urgent need of tariff reduction. Here was 
unexpected ground upon which to fight a decisive battle. A 
bill embodying Cleveland's views passed the Democratic House 
but met with defeat in the Senate. The great debate passed 
into the presidential campaign and the country witnessed the 
unusual spectacle of the two major parties actually dividing on 
a living issue. The Republicans accepted with elation Cleve- 
land's challenge to fight the battle on the tariff, rallied their 
strength, and fought a vigorous campaign. 48 The sectional 
issue dropped into the background until it almost completely 
faded from the picture. 44 When the votes were counted in 
November and Harrison emerged the victor, the Republican 
party had at last elected a President without the aid of the 
"bloody shirt." 

Cleveland's tenure of office had removed many Northern 
apprehensions by revealing the unsubstantial basis upon which 
they rested. It was now the turn of the South to wait in dread 
expectation of what the restoration of Republican rule would 
mean. Southern politicians, preaching the necessity of sec- 
tional solidarity, had during the campaign immoderately por- 
trayed the dangers of Republican victory. They prophesied the 
re-opening of all "the burning issues of negro supremacy," and 
predicted evils worse than Reconstruction. 45 Now that the 
Republicans had gained the victory the South did not know 

41 New York Times, Aug. 28, 1887. 

42 Nevins, "Cleveland," 367. 

43 Nevins, "Cleveland," 367-442. 
"Harper's Weekly, Oct. 13, 1888. 

45 See as typical the New Orleans Picayune, Oct. 23, 1888. 


whether it faced merely a hobgoblin of its own creation or a 
dread dragon of destruction. But most Southerners joined 
with the editor of the Atlanta Constitution in viewing the 
future with "deep foreboding," and clinging in the crisis to 
"the integrity and supremacy of the Democratic party in the 
South/' " 

The Republican Congress elected in November 1888 did not 
assemble for its first session until December 1889. The thirteen 
months' interval gave ample opportunity for press, pulpit and 
rostrum to discuss in detail proposals for remedying the 
Southern problem. The Republican argument moved with 
simple logic from premise to conclusion. Stripped of the subter- 
fuges by which the South disguised its action, the actual situa- 
tion in the Southern states was that Negro citizens were de- 
prived of the right to vote because of their race and previous 
condition of servitude. This violated the spirit if not the 
letter of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the 
Constitution. The practice of disfranchising colored voters 
strengthened the Democratic party in the House of Repre- 
sentatives and the electoral college. The evil therefore became 
national rather than local in scope. Congress must safeguard 
the integrity of federal elections by enacting a measure which 
gave federal supervision in every polling booth in the country 
where national representatives and presidential electors were 
being chosen/ 7 

Independents and moderates united with professional Demo- 
crats in presenting the opposite point of view. Washington 
Gladden expressed an opinion widely entertained when he 
challenged the assumption that sound government could ever 
be based upon the suffrage of men so ignorant as the Southern 
Negro. Godkin in the Nation and Curtis in Harper's Weekly 
hammered on the idea that the primary requirement in pro- 
moting the welfare of the black man was to take him as an 
issue out of politics. Most of the social agencies working in the 

46 Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 7, 1888. 

47 Various expressions of this argument are found in President Harrison's 
first annual message to Congress, Richardson, "Messages," IX, 57-58; 
Public Opinion, VIII (1889), passim; Hoar, "Autobiography," II, 150-165; 
T. B. Reed, "Federal Control of Elections," North American Review, CL 
(1890), 671-680; and A. T. Rice, "The Next National Reform," North 
American Review, CXLVIII (1889), 82-85. 


field of race relations looked with disfavor upon a measure 
that would engender further controversy. Bitter words were 
uttered by the more partisan-minded, challenging the integrity 
of Republican motives and assailing the men who prolonged 
sectional strife for party profit. A great deal was said about 
Northern investments and business relations in the South be- 
ing placed in jeopardy and it seems true that business classes 
did protest against a policy that promised to create an uncer- 
tain future. Southerners grew bolder as they felt Northern 
opinion rallying to their defense and bluntly asserted that 
under one device or another the South was determined to rule 
its own local affairs. 48 

The Republican party was in no sense united in its stand on 
the issue. The party managers faced a busy Congressional 
session in which perplexing and intricate legislative problems 
in regard to the tariff, silver coinage, and trust regulation had 
to be solved. Little time could be afforded for what was after 
all a matter of secondary importance, especially when it threat- 
ened to impede the progress of other legislation. Nevertheless 
the party had talked a great deal, if somewhat nebulously, about 
safeguarding the rights of their Negro wards. An element 
within the party, notably Senator Hoar of Massachusetts, sin- 
cerely wished to discharge the obligation. But the majority of 
Republicans supported the measure because they felt it vaguely 
incumbent upon them to do something. Their hearts were never 
more than half in the business and when the opportunity came 
to drop the affair they did so with far more enthusiasm than 
they had shown when they picked it up. 

The remedy which the Republicans finally formulated was 
a bill introduced into Congress by Henry Cabot Lodge early 
in 1890. The measure, styled a Federal election bill, was sur- 
prisingly moderate in tone. It was expertly drawn to meet the 
test of constitutionality and to appear both national in scope 
and non-partisan in application. It provided that Federal super- 
visors representing both parties were to be appointed in any 

48 W. Gladden, "Safeguards of the Suffrage/' Century, XXXI (1889), 
621-622; Harper's Weekly, Nov. i888-Dec. 1889, passim; Public Opinion, 
VI and VII (1889), passim; E. L, Godkin, "The Republican Party and the 
Negro," Forum, VII (1889), 246-257; and files of the Louisville Courier- 
Journal, the Charleston News and Courier, and the Atlanta Constitution. 


election district where five hundred voters petitioned the Federal 
authorities. The supervisors had power to pass on the qualifica- 
tions of challenged voters in elections involving the choice of 
Congressmen and presidential electors. They had authority to 
receive ballots which were refused by local officials and to 
place them in the ballot box. The bill moved slowly through the 
House where it passed on July 2, 1890. In the Senate it slowly 
expired from inanition and neglect. Republican members in- 
terested in the smooth progress of the tariff bill acted to 
postpone consideration of the Lodge bill. Senator Hoar who 
fathered the measure in the upper house seemed hesitant to face 
a final vote. Public distaste for the bill became increasingly ap- 
parent. In January 1891 eight Republican senators from the 
West, bargaining for Southern support on a pending silver 
measure, united with the Democratic opposition in voting a 
final defeat of the bill. 49 

Several explanations for the defeat were given. Hoar blamed 
the opposition of Northern business men, on which point Lodge 
agreed, and the antagonism of "self-styled reformers'* who pre- 
ferred "purity" to equality in politics. Senator Cameron, of 
Pennsylvania, preferred to see the measure die than cause in- 
terruption to the flow of Northern capital into the South. The 
New York Tribune attributed responsibility to the silver alliance 
of West and South. Actually the measure was killed by the 
hostility of Northern public opinion. James Bryce who rarely 
erred in his judgments of the United States noted that the 
prevailing sentiment interpreted the Lodge bill to be "an attempt 
to overcome nature by law/' 50 The public showed its bias by 
accepting as its own the derisive appellation "Force Bill" which 
had been affixed to the bill by partisan Democrats. The Phila- 
delphia Inquirer (Republican) canvassed Republican opinion 
and flatly asserted that most of the party's leaders and rank 

49 Congressional Record, 51 Cong, i sess., passim; G. F. Hoar, "The 
Fate of the Election Bill," Forum, XI (1891), 127-136; Hoar, "Auto- 
biography," II, 150-165; Harper's Weekly, Feb. iSpo-Jan. 1891, passim; 
Public Opinion, VIII, IX and X (1890-91), passim; files of the New York 
World and the New York Tribune. Especially informative is a series of 
articles by Lodge, T. V. Powderly, R. Smalls and A. W. Shaffer in the 
North American Review, CLI (189), 257-273, 593-609. 

50 J. Bryce, "Thoughts on the Negro Problem/' North American Re- 
view, CLIII (1891), 654. 


and file privately hoped for the bill's defeat. 51 The moderately 
Republican St. Louis Globe-Democrat summed up the matter 
by affirming, "We can better afford to tolerate the evil than to 
attack it in the form of arbitrary Federal interference in local 
affairs." 52 

During the controversy a group of Southern Congressmen 
published a book with the significant title, "Why the Solid 
South?" 53 The authors reviewed state by state the history of 
the Reconstruction era, depicting its tragedies and affixing re- 
sponsibility for the Solid South on the blundering statesman- 
ship of the Republican party. The book was obviously propa- 
ganda intended to establish the thesis that the Lodge bill was 
a return to the errors of the past. But it made a profound im- 
pression in the North. The first detailed representation of the 
Southern view of Reconstruction to reach a wide audience, the 
book can be said even to have affected later historiography. 
"Why the Solid South?" was an important step in the process 
of historical revision by which judgments were altered and 
understanding between the sections promoted. 

The defeat of the Lodge bill marked the final passage of the 
sectional issue in its Civil War guise from politics. The Re- 
publican party tacitly accepted the fact of white supremacy in 
the South. It never again hoisted the "bloody shirt" to its 
masthead. Hoar sadly admitted that the issue drove more 
voters out of the party than it retained. A strongly partisan 
Republican Congress had made its final surrender in obedience 
to the clearly expressed sentiment of the nation. The last threat 
to what Southerners cherished most control of their domestic 
affairs was permanently destroyed. All unwittingly the 
young representative from Massachusetts who had so wanted 
to thunder like the Republicans of the heroic age had cleared the 
political stage for peace. 

The decade of the nineties gave a new fixation to American 
politics. The tremendous development of national wealth and 
power brought about one of those recurrent periods in our his- 
tory when social and economic maladjustments demanded re- 

51 Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 27, 1891. 

52 St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Aug. 23, 1890. 

63 H. A. Herbert and others, "Why the Solid South?" (Baltimore, 1890). 


adjustment. Prosperity and depression, tariff and silver coinage, 
agrarian unrest and labor turmoil, foreign markets and world 
diplomacy such issues of the new day did not conform to the 
old North-South alignment of political forces. There was not 
on any of these issues a definable "Southern opinion" that could 
be applied to the section as a whole without infinite qualifica- 
tion and exception. The South remained solid as a legacy of the 
past and Southerners continued to wear the label of Democrats. 
But in the practical matter of voting for what they wanted in 
Congress their representatives divided on economic lines and 
sought support in union with kindred interests in the East and 
West where and when a bargain could be effected. The words of 
President McKinley in his inaugural message of March 4, 1897, 
were based on unassailable fact. "The North and the South no 
longer divide on the old lines, but upon principles and policies ; 
and in this fact surely every lover of the country can find cause 
for true felicitation/' 



No question connected with the South rested more heavily and, 
it must be said, more wearily upon the American mind during 
the eighties than the problem of the Negro. For half a century 
the black man had been a symbol of strife between the sections. 
The chasm dug by the intemperance of the abolition attack 
against slavery and the Reconstruction crusade to give equality 
of status to the freedman had fortunately closed. But a line of 
demarcation still divided the nation. On one side lived a people 
faced with the menace of Negro domination, on the other a 
people committed by their intervention in the past to securing 
justice for the inferior race. Final reconciliation waited upon 
an adjustment that would quiet the apprehensions of the South 
and still the conscience of the North. 

Southern whites had fought stolidly and unyieldingly for 
control over a problem they insisted was domestic in nature. 
They continued to resist without compromise any suggestion 
of outside pressure. Their minds were strong in the conviction 
that orderly society could exist only when the Negro was rigidly 
disciplined. The people of the North after 1877 were for the 
most part in substantial agreement that the Negro was not pre- 
pared for equality and that the South should be allowed to 
deal with the problem in its own way, "Henceforth/' as one 
Northern journal observed, "the nation as a nation, will have 
nothing more to do with him [the Negro]. " * The South had 
won its major point. No longer would the black man figure as 

1 Nation, April 5, 1877. 


"a ward of the nation" to be singled out for special guardian- 
ship or peculiar treatment. 

The discipline the South elaborated in the years following 
Reconstruction rested frankly upon the premise of the Negro's 
inferiority. Much was said about the South acting defensively to 
erect bulwarks against the threat of Negro domination. But 
actually the South moved aggressively to reduce the Negro's 
status to something comparable to serfdom. The intention 
openly averred was to give an inferior people an inferior role 
and to efface them as positive factors in the section's life. To 
this end the new discipline excluded the colored man from 
politics by disfranchising him, rendered him economically im- 
potent by making him a peon, and isolated him socially by afx 
extensive practice of segregation. The net result was to deprive 
the Negro of more privileges than was necessary to keep him 
from becoming a menace and to make the South a "white man's 

The methods of suppressing the Negro vote softened after 
the whites gained control of the machinery of state and local 
government, but they continued to be a mixture of fraud, 
trickery, intimidation and violence. Polling places were set up 
at points remote from colored communities. Ferries between 
the black districts and the voting booths went "out of repair" on 
election day. Grim-visaged white men carrying arms sauntered 
through the streets or stood near the polling booths. In districts 
where the blacks greatly outnumbered the whites, election 
officials permitted members of the superior race to "stuff the 
ballot box," and manipulated the count without fear of censure. 
Fantastic gerrymanders were devised to nullify Negro strength. 
The payment of poll taxes, striking at the Negro's poverty and 
carelessness in preserving receipts, was made a requirement 
for voting. Some states confused the ignorant by enacting 
multiple ballot box laws which required the voter to place cor- 
rectly his votes for various candidates in eight or more separate 
boxes. The bolder members of the colored race met threats of 
violence and, in a diminishing number of instances, physical 
punishment. When the black man succeeded in passing through 
this maze of restrictions and cast his vote there was no as- 
surance that it would be counted. Highly centralized election 


codes vested arbitrary powers in the election boards, and these 
powers were used to complete the elimination of the Negro 
vote. 2 

These practices testified eloquently to the resourcefulness of 
the Southern whites, but they could not be considered as an 
adequate or permanent solution. So long as the South persisted 
by extra-legal and illegal methods to nullify the spirit of the 
Fifteenth amendment of the Federal constitution and to violate 
the letter of their own state constitutions framed in the Re- 
construction era, there remained a potential danger of a Federal 
"force bill" or a refusal on the part of Congress to seat a con- 
gressman elected from a Southern district where the abuses 
seemed more than ordinarily flagrant. Furthermore the practices 
worked to the disadvantage of certain elements of the Southern 
whites. Fraud could not be used against the Negro without 
demoralizing the whole structure of politics. Walter Hines Page 
pointed to instances where a group in power used its control of 
the election machinery to "count out" white opponents who had 
polled a majority vote. The illiterate and impoverished white 
man frequently found himself enmeshed in the restrictions that 
had been framed to embarrass the Negro. But most serious was 
the fact that, so long as the constitutional provisions for uni- 
versal suffrage remained unchanged, division among the whites 
might result in a recrudescence of Negro voting. When Ben- 
jamin F. Tillman led the dirt farmers of South Carolina in a 
common man's movement against the conservatives who had 
ruled the state since 1877 he found his opponents voting the 
Negroes of the Black Belt against him. 3 The rise of Populism 
in the nineties accentuated the evil. Wherever the whites divided 
as Democrats and Populists, the rival factions courted the 
colored vote and some of the turbulence of Reconstruction came 
back again. 4 

Obviously the time had arrived for the constitutional dis- 
franchisement of the Negro. The negative language of the 

2 The best monograph on Negro suffrage is P. Lewinson's, "Race, Class, 
and Party" (London, 1932). 

3 F. B. Simkins, "The Tillman Movement in South Carolina" (Durham, 
N. C, 1926). 

4 R. D. W. Connor and C. Poe, "The Life and Speeches of Charles 
Brantley Aycock" (Garden City, 1916), 64-72. 


Fifteenth amendment 5 was easily surmounted. But it was not 
so easy to frame a measure without at the same time disfranchis- 
ing the illiterate white. The Mississippi Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1890 found the solution in a cleverly devised literacy test. 
No person was permitted to vote who was unable to read any 
section of the national constitution when submitted to him, or 
to interpret its meaning when read to him. Significant dis- 
cretionary powers permitted the registration officers to dis- 
criminate in accepting illiterate whites and rejecting illiterate 
blacks. South Carolina followed in 1895 with a literacy test 
based upon that of Mississippi. Louisiana in 1898 introduced 
a variant in the "grandfather clause" whereby any person was 
exempt from the literacy test who had voted before January i, 
1867, or who was the son or grandson of a person who had 
enjoyed that right. By this device her registration lists were 
purged of colored voters but included all classes of whites. Other 
variants in the form of literacy tests or educational requirements 
flatly designed to discriminate against the Negro were adopted 
in North Carolina in 1900 and Virginia in 1902. Before the 
twentieth century was a decade old the constitutional dis- 
franchisement of the Negro was a fact throughout the South. 
Southerners universally hailed this as an achievement of 
constructive statesmanship for which no apology was necessary. 
The Negro was branded as an alien whose ignorance, poverty, 
and racial inferiority were wholly incompatible with logical and 
orderly processes of government. 6 No difference of opinion 
separated Southern leaders on this point. A champion of the 
dirt farmers, Tillman, led the disfranchisement in South 
Carolina. A conservative, Aycock, waged his most significant 
campaign on the issue of "white supremacy" and dominated 
the North Carolina movement to eliminate the Negro from 
politics. Vardaman, of Mississippi, might express the sectional 
attitude with greater violence and less regard for consequences 
than Carter Glass, of Virginia, but it was the latter who asserted 

5 "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied 
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, 
or previous condition of servitude." 

6 Cf. H. W. Grady's speech at Augusta, Ga., Nov. 1887, quoted in 
Harris, "Grady, 126; and C. H. Otken, "The Ills of the South" (New York, 
1894), 8. 


on the floor of the Virginia Constitutional Convention, "Dis- 
criminate ! Why that is precisely what we propose ; that, exactly, 
is what this convention was elected for to discriminate to the 
very extremity of permissible action tinder the limitations of 
the Federal Constitution, with a view to the elimination of every 
negro voter who can be gotten rid of legally, without materially 
impairing the numerical strength of the white electorate." 
Thoughtful Southerners found consolation in the fact that the 
unworkable principle of universal suffrage had been frankly 
discarded and looked forward to an era of peace when political 
battles would not be fought in terms of race antagonism. 

The conditions which placed the Negro in economic peonage 
have been discussed in an earlier chapter. 7 It was a prevalent 
notion among Southerners that the colored man was shiftless, 
prone to idleness, and unstable as a worker. But the fact remains 
that he continued to do most of the rough labor of the section. 
Sixty per cent, of the race were farmers, and of these the vast 
majority were tenants on the land of white men. Thirty per 
cent, found employment in domestic and menial service. Others 
worked as unskilled laborers in mining, industry and transporta- 
tion. A diminishing proportion earned a livelihood as skilled 
artisans while some, especially in the cities, entered the middle 
class occupations of tradesmen, ministers, lawyers and doctors. 

The dominant race universally believed that "darkies should 
work for white folks." But the lowly estate of the black man 
resulted from his poverty, ignorance, lack of opportunity and 
the evils of tenancy rather than from any conscious program 
of the white classes. Everywhere the Negro's right to work was 
recognized and his permanence in the South accepted. The 
spread of trade unions excluded him from certain occupations 
he formerly had held, but with this exception the Negro at 
work met with little race antagonism. Nevertheless he stood on 
the lowest rungs of the economic ladder with little chance to 
mount higher. The control of industry and agriculture rested 
firmly in the hands of white employers. This phase of the new 
discipline received little contemporary attention. But its sig- 
nificance was great in giving stability to the structure of 
Southern society. 

7 Supra, 145-148. 


The social segregation of the Negro, on the other hand, pro- 
voked almost as much discussion as the process of disfranchise- 
ment. Here the South had to move positively against the earlier 
program of social equality and racial association advocated and 
applied by the politicians and missionaries of the Reconstruction 
era. State legislatures, upon the expulsion of the Carpetbaggers, 
stringently prohibited interracial marriages. The educational 
system was revised to make obligatory separate schools and 
colleges. Separation extended into the churches where mixed 
congregations became a thing of the past. The South received 
encouragement in its stand on segregation when the Supreme 
Court in 1883 virtually nullified the restrictive features of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1875. "]im Crow" cars became universal 
on Southern railways. Negroes were barred from admittance 
to hotels, inns, restaurants, and amusement places which catered 
to white people. Street cars had separate sections reserved for 
whites and blacks. Local ordinances and customs supplemented 
these general features of segregation, and everywhere through- 
out the South a color line separated the races. 

Segregation did not proceed from or necessarily imply race 
antagonism. It was in harmony with a basic Southern assump- 
tion that "there is an instinct, ineradicable and positive, that will 
keep the races apart." 8 It recognized the biracial character of 
Southern society and greatly lessened the opportunities for 
friction. Yet it must be obvious that it did little to separate the 
races where the Negro came into contact with the white man as 
a menial. It affected mostly the black man's aspirations for 
equality. As such it further accomplished the oft stated purpose 
of making the South a land where the white man dominated. 

The South paid heavily for its new discipline. The subordina- 
tion of all other political issues to the one great principle of 
Negro disf ranchisement suspended the natural development and 
operation of a two-party system. Democratic solidarity remained 
after the colored man was safely eliminated as a factor in 
politics. In fact its necessity was preached as a creed to which 
all respectable Southerners must subscribe. In places this de- 
scended to the mean device of "nigger baiting" by which the 
lower type of politicians perpetuated their hold on office. Inas- 

Harris, "Grady," 289. 


much as the one issue that justified party solidarity had been 
settled, there remained little inducement for the ordinary citizen 
to participate in politics or even to vote. Politics in the South 
became a game for professionals, and in every state where 
constitutional disfranchisement occurred the number of white 
votes diminished in alarming proportions. The social segrega- 
tion of the races added burdens equally as onerous. The meagre 
resources of the South proved insufficient to provide adequately 
for the double system of schools made necessary by the color 
line. Most costly of all the consequences of segregation was its 
retarding influence on new proposals for social and economic 
reform. The South could ill afford to espouse measures for 
progressive change until those measures had been conserva- 
tively adjusted to the biracial nature of its population. The 
fact that thoughtful Southerners fully appreciated the price 
they were paying is proof, perhaps, that the new discipline grew 
out of necessity and was not a reflection of an inhumane spirit. 

The Negro, likewise, paid a heavy price. Disfranchisement, 
ruthlessly extended even into the upper classes of the race, 
closed to him the practical school by which democracies have 
trained their citizens. Economic peonage was a dreary routine 
of work and debt which tended to discourage ambition and 
enterprise and to encourage a shiftless adaptation to a bare 
subsistence standard, of living. Segregation with its countless 
distinctions beat endlessly against the black man's pride and 
self-respect. Early in life the Negro child learned the hazards 
of the color line. It was the lot of every Negro to accept, as 
most of his race did, the badge of inferiority or to carry hidden 
within his inner soul an impotent yet agonizing spark of re- 
bellion against the fateful injustice of his position. 

Yet the discipline possessed advantages which far outweighed 
its evils. The South lived no longer in the fear of "Negro 
domination." The centrifugal force engendered by the doc- 
trinaire theories of Reconstruction was definitely blocked. The 
new order gave a sense of security, a feeling of permanence and 
stability, upon which the basis of a better understanding between 
the races could be soundly erected. The clearly expressed 
superiority of the white race carried with it implications of 
responsibility. Throughout the South forward-looking men 


began advocating improved opportunities and better training 
for the Negro. Best of all, the discipline prevented the Negro 
from slipping into semi-barbarism, gave him a job and a 
permanent place in Southern life, and permitted a slow but 
definite progress for the race as a whole. 

Men who like Wendell Phillips were goaded by an impatient 
lust to make immediately all things new viewed with pessimistic 
eyes the snail-like progress of the Negro. But those who based 
their judgment upon a more realistic conception of the actual 
conditions in the South took a more cheerful attitude. One 
careful observer reported in 1891 that the Negro not only was 
advancing as rapidly as any fair-minded person could expect 
but was also building his progress upon sound principles. He 
had discarded the foggy notions of Reconstruction. He no 
longer sought salvation in politics and legislative measures. 
Education he recognized as the means of redemption and he was 
making immense sacrifices to secure it. In spite of limited op- 
portunities and oppressive handicaps colored men were buying 
farms, building homes, accumulating property, establishing 
themselves in trade, entering the professions, and in the cities 
forming centers of a cultural life. Above all it could be noted 
that these people, only recently emerged from slavery, were 
silently and steadily "developing a sense of self-respect, new 
capacity for self-support, and a pride in their race, which more 
than anything else secure for them the respect and fraternal 
feeling of their white neighbors." 9 

All this presupposed acquiescence in the discipline on the part 
of the Negro. White reporters averred that the Negro cared 
little for the loss of suffrage, accepted the notion that "white 
folks should boss," and preferred to have separate schools, 
churches, societies and amusements. 10 These opinions correctly 
mirrored the easy and even indolent adaptation of the mass of 
the Negroes. But the ordinary colored man left no record of his 

9 S. J. Barrows, "What the Southern Negro Is Doing for Himself," 
Atlantic Monthly, LVII (1891), 805-815. 

10 A. G.-Haygood, "The South and the School Problem," Harper's 
Monthly, LXXIX (1889), 226-231; E. Kirke, "How Shall the Negro Be 
Educated?" North American Review, CXLII (1886), 422-426; E. G. Murphy, 
"Problems of the Present South" (New York, 1904), 34-35; J. Bryce, 
"Thoughts on the Negro Problem," North American Review, CLIII (1891), 


feelings, and it is impossible even to offer a guess as to what 
was in his heart, Frederick Douglass raised an occasional note 
of protest from the North. 11 But Douglass's leadership be- 
longed to a passing era. The man who dominated the new period 
was one who had been trained in the Hampton program of in- 
dustrial education. 

Booker T. Washington pointed the way along the only road 
by which the aspiring Negro of the eighties could escape the 
apathy and stagnation which characterized the vast majority 
of the race. Tuskegee Institute and its offshoots taught the 
dignity of work and endeavored to instill in students miserably 
poor in preparation the moral stamina and craft skill which 
would fit them for useful lives as farmers and mechanics. 
Washington deplored the mistaken folly that demanded political 
privileges for a race as yet unable to discharge them creditably. 
He urged his people to begin at the bottom, to learn how to 
read and write, to acquire farms and skills in all the trades. "It 
is through the dairy farm, the truck garden, the trades, and 
commercial life," he maintained, "that the negro is to find his 
way to the enjoyment of all his rights." ** Rather than protest 
against the wrongs suffered by his race, he counseled patience 
and the gradual remedy of economic advancement. "Nothing 
else so soon brings about right relations between the two races 
in the South," he wrote, "as the industrial progress of the negro. 
Friction between the races will pass away in proportion as the 
black man, by reason of his skill, intelligence, and character, can 
produce something that the white man wants." 1S At the Atlanta 
exposition of 1895 he summed up his philosophy in a speech 
which received wide acclaim and which included the much 
quoted : "The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now 
is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar 
in an opera-house." 14 

11 F. Douglass, "The Color Line," North American Review, CXXXII 
(1881), 567-577- 

12 B. T. Washington, "The Awakening of the Negro/' Atlantic Monthly, 
LXXVIII (1896), 326. 

13 Ibid. 

14 B. T. Washington, "Up from Slavery 1 ' (New York, 1901), 218-225, 
See also Washington, "The Story of the Negro" (New York, 1909), II, 
passim. For the opinions of Washington's mentor, see S. C. Armstrong, 
"The Future of the Negro/' North American Review, CXXXIX (1884), 


Critics of Washington, notably the younger and brilliant 
W. E. B. Du Bois, argued that Washington compromised too 
much with the status quo, that the wrongs and sufferings of the 
colored man should be kept before the public, and that the 
emphasis on industrial education worked to the disadvantage 
of the broader cultural training necessary to produce leaders 
for the race. But so long as Washington lived his leadership 
remained unshaken. His attitude pleased the white South and 
contributed to the lowering of the prejudice against Negro 
training. 13 He was accepted in the North as the great in- 
terpreter of the Southern Negro. Northern philanthropy for 
the most part followed the outlines of his program. Accordingly 
he exercised a major influence in promoting a better mutual 
understanding between the North and South on the Negro 

While the South shaped its new discipline and the Negro 
adjusted his life to the new conditions, Northern opinion was 
subjected to a flood of propaganda which sought to describe 
and to debate the Negro's place in American society. Congress- 
men discussed the issues in the national legislature, newspapers 
sent special reporters on tours of investigation, publicists wrote 
books, periodicals undertook series of articles on all sides of 
the question, scholars prepared what purported to be impartial 
and learned monographs, business men contributed their 
opinions, and clergymen preached sermons. 16 

The Southern point of view was forcibly presented. One line- 
of approach was taken by Thomas Nelson Page and Basil L. 

15 J. L, M. Curry, "Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1894- 
1895," II, 1373. 

16 Contemporary books dealing with various aspects of this debate are : 
F. Bancroft, "The Negro in Politics" (New York, 1885) ; P. A. Bruce, 
"The Plantation Negro as a Freeman" (New York, 1889) ; G. W. Cable, 
"The Silent South" (New York, 1885), and "The Negro Question" (New 
York, 1888) ; W. H. Crogman, "Talks for the Times" (Atlanta, Ga., 1896) ; 
H. M. Field, "Bright Skies and Dark Shadows" (New York, 1890); 
T. T. Fortune, "Black and White" (New York, 1884) ; A. G, Haygood, 
"Our Brother in Black" (New York, 1881) ; T. N. Page, "The Old South" 
(New York, 1892) ; and A. W. Tourgee, "An Appeal to Caesar" (New York, 
1884). Periodical articles appeared in great number. In one decade the North 
American Review, CXXV-CXLIII (1877-1886), published more than two- 
score articles on the Negro. Godkin's editorials continued to make the Na- 
tion valuable. The Forum, newly founded in 1886, sought provocative articles. 
The Century, Atlantic, Harper's Monthly, and Lippincott's all contain 
material of importance. 


Gildersleeve, the distinguished classicist. They pictured the 
beauties of race relationships and the mutual understanding that 
had existed under slavery, noted how extraneous forces had 
broken the entente during Reconstruction, and suggested that 
the reestablishment of a discipline over the Negro would re- 
store a spirit of friendship between whites and blacks. Henry 
Grady and Henry Watterson vigorously defended the dis- 
franchisement of the Negro and attempted to explain how a 
Solid South was a matter of imperative necessity and con- 
stituted no menace to any national interest. P. A. Bruce was 
foremost among those whose scholarly approach won recogni- 
tion. His "The Plantation Negro As a Freeman," published in 
1889, was a careful delineation of the Negro's mental, moral 
and physical traits with the pessimistic conclusion that he was 
unfit for self-government, needed direction, and should confine 
himself to the lower occupations. Atticus G. Haygood explained 
to the North the need for separate schools, stressed the im- 
portance of patience and pleaded for Northern aid and coopera- 
tion. The Southern argument was effectively summarized by 
Page : "We have educated him [the Negro] ; we have aided 
him ; we have sustained him in all directions. We are ready to 
continue our aid ; but we will not be dominated by him. When 
we shall be, it is our settled conviction that we shall deserve the 
degradation into which we shall have sunk." 17 

The close of the century gave Southerners two additional 
arguments. For a long time assertions had been made to the 
effect that in spite of their pretensions Northerners possessed 
as much race antipathy toward the colored man as did South- 
erners. It remained for a Negro historian and sociologist, 
W. E. B. Du Bois, to produce conclusive documentation of the 
fact. Du Bois's "The Philadelphia Negro, A Social Study," 
published in 1899, revealed a problem in the North not unlike 
that in the South, one that was handled in much the same way, 
and one that was equally as far from solution. The moral, if one 
needed to be drawn, was, as expressed in the Nation, "patience 
and sympathy toward the South whose difficulties have been 
far greater than those of the North." 18 The acquisition of the 

17 T. N. Page, "Old South/ 1 344- 

18 Nation, Oct. 26, 1899. 


Philippine Islands tinder Republican auspices taught another 
lesson in consistency. The party refused to grant equality of 
rights to a "backward people" in the new possession. Could it 
continue the pretense of championing the right of a ''backward 
people" at home to participate on equal terms in the affairs of 

One important Southern voice was raised in protest against 
the treatment of the Negro. George Washington Cable refused 
to recognize a system built on discrimination, exclusion and 
subjugation. He charged his fellow-Southerners with deliberate 
and persistent evasion of the laws enacted to protect the f reed- 
men. He charged them with cherishing and perpetuating pre- 
judices born in slavery and building a false creed on the fiction 
of instinctive and ineradicable differences between the races. 
Cable wrote effectively and at length. He received a courteous 
hearing in the North but his influence was negligible. Even his 
unpopularity and voluntary exile from the South caused little 
comment. The drift of Northern opinion was distinctly set in 
channels other than Cable wished to direct it. Thomas Nast 
caught the essence of this fact in a cartoon captioned "A Dead 
Issue/' in which the South is pictured as too busy at work to 
find time for mistreating Negroes, much to the chagrin of 
Northern doctrinaires who reluctantly see the Negro issue die. 19 

Among Northerners the attack on the Southern position was 
limited to politicians like Foraker and Elaine, die-hards like 
Judge Tourgee and General Sherman, and partisan editors like 
Murat Halstead and Whitelaw Reid. The ordinary citizen left 
no record of his views, but newspapers commented on his grow- 
ing unconcern with the welfare of the Negro, an opinion which 
finds corroboration in the inefficacy of the "bloody shirt' ' in 
politics. Northern reporters of Southern conditions after the 
middle eighties followed the pattern of McClure, J. B. Harri- 
son, and Schurz and sympathetically portrayed the Southern 
attitude. Meanwhile the intellectuals who controlled the North- 
ern periodicals were exceedingly understanding. This was es- 
pecially true of Gilder, in the Century, and Godkin, in the 
Nation, both of whom waged consistent campaigns to explain 
the conditions which made necessary in the South a discipline 

Harpefs Weekly, Aug. 29, 1885. 


over the colored man. "The fact is, and the sooner the fact is 
recognized the sooner we shall be rid of many dangerous illu- 
sions/' wrote Gilder in a typical passage, "that the negroes 
constitute a peasantry wholly untrained in, and ignorant of, 
those ideas of constitutional liberty and progress which are 
the birthright of every white voter; that they are gregarious 
and emotional rather than intelligent, and are easily led in 
any direction by white men of energy and determination." 20 
The obvious conclusion is the one made by Godkin, "I. do 
not see, in short, how the negro is ever to be worked into 
a system of government for which you and I would have much 
respect." 21 

It seems even more remarkable that the men in the North 
most interested in the welfare of the Negro should accept so 
largely the Southern defense. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
who will be remembered as an ardent abolitionist and an officer 
of Negro troops, revisited the South in 1878 and reported that 
he found the Negroes industrious, prospering, and progressive, 
and noted a conspicuous absence of any strained relations be- 
tween the races. 22 Six years later Higginson paid a glowing 
tribute to the South. "I know nothing more manly in this 
generation than the manner the Southern whites since the war 
have addressed themselves to the problem of educating the 
blacks." 23 

What was true of Higginson was true of A. D. Mayo whose 
great educational work in the South was a bright feature of 
sectional cooperation in the field of humanitarian endeavor. He 
too believed that the Negro was far below the standard of 
meriting full citizenship. He was as fulsome as Page in praising 
the personal attachment of Southerners to the colored folk and 
as meticulous as Harris in defending the necessity of white 
leadership. His conclusion was that "the logic of the new 
Southern life is all on the side of the final elevation of the 
Negro." 24 

20 Editorial, Century, XXIII (1883), 945-946. 

21 Ogden, "Godkin," II, 114. 

32 T. W. Higginson, "Some War Scenes Revisited," Atlantic Monthly, 
XLII (1878), 1-9. 

23 T. W. Higginson, "Young Men's Party" (pamphlet, New York, 1884). 

24 A. D. Mayo, "The Negro- American Citizen in the New American 
Life" (pamphlet, Lake Mohonk, N. Y., 1890). 


Workers who canvassed the North for funds to aid the 
Negro in the South also spread a conciliatory message. In- 
dustrial training was the fancy of the day and the prestige of 
Tuskegee further popularized the tendency to ask for funds in 
terms of an acquiescing philosophy. In any case Northerners 
heard the voice of philanthropy saying that the blacks must be 
for some time servants, farm laborers, and mechanics, that they 
should be trained to do skillful work and thus be made good 
citizens, that they needed to be taught less about books and 
more about life and daily duties, that they must begin at the 
bottom and slowly move upward. 

From the prolonged discussion of the Negro problem certain 
conventional attitudes gradually emerged to become fixed and 
basic formulas in the American credo. It might be informative 
to list a number of these attitudes, associating with each the 
names of several Northerners who expressed it in print. 

1. The mass of Negroes are unfit for the suffrage. R. W. Gil- 
der, A. D. Mayo, and the Englishman James Bryce. 

2. The only hope for good government in the South rests upon 
the assured political supremacy of the white race. Edward At- 
kinson, E. L. Godkin, Carl Schurz, Charles Eliot Norton, 
C D. Warner. 

3. The Negroes are the American peasantry. N. S. Shaler, 
J. B. Harrison, H. M. Field. 

4. One race or the other must rule ; the true interests of both 
races require that the control should be in the hands of the whites. 
Hugh McCulloch, A. K. McClure, G. F. Hoar. 

5. If there be a race problem, time and education can alone 
supply its solution. R. C. Winthrop, A. W. Tourgee, C. F. 

6. Northerners when confronted with the race problem at home 
show the same prejudices Southerners do. In fact, the attitude of 
the Anglo-Saxons toward the Negro the world over is essentially 
the same. E. L. Godkin, S. C. Armstrong, J. G. Holland, 
T. W. Higginson, H. M. Field. 

7. The Negro is better off in Southern hands. A. D. Mayo, 
T. W. Higginson, R. W. Gilder. 

8. The history of the Negro in Africa and America "leads to 
the belief that he will remain inferior in race stamina and race 
achievement." A. B. Hart. 


Few Northerners could be found at the close of the century 
who did not subscribe to the greater part of this credo. A tre- 
mendous reversal of opinion had materialized. The unchanging 
elements of the race problem had become apparent to most 
observers and the old impatient yearning for an immediate and 
thorough solution had passed away. Once a people admits the 
fact that a major problem is basically insoluble they have taken 
the first step in learning how to live with it. The conflicting 
elements of the race problem had dropped into a working ad- 
justment which was accepted and rationalized as a settlement. 
Imperfect as it was, it permitted a degree of peace between 
North and South hitherto unknown, gave to the South the 
stability of race relations necessary to reconcile her to the re- 
united nation, and gave to the Negro a chance to live and to take 
the first steps of progress. 



THIRTY years after Appomattox there remained no fundamental 
conflict between the aspirations of North and South. The people 
of the United States constituted at last a nation integrated in 
interests and united in sentiment. In spite of differences in past 
traditions and continuing regional divergences the structure of 
society North and South rested upon approximately the same 
foundations. The controlling influences which shaped national 
destiny operated in one section as freely as in the other. The 
interlocking of economic dependence had completed its mastery 
over particularistic trends. Programs of social and economic 
progress found definition in terms to which Southerners as well 
as Northerners subscribed. The memories of the past were 
woven in a web of national sentiment which selected from by- 
gone feuds those deeds of mutual valor which permitted pride 
in present achievement and future promise. The remarkable 
changes that had taken place within the short span of a single 
generation had created a national solidarity hitherto unknown 
in American life. The reunited nation was a fact. 

Testimony of the extent to which the South responded to the 
dynamic currents of national life was found in its participation 
in the educational revival of the closing decades of the century. 
The country rededicated itself to faith in education as the 
agency for molding the complex forces of modern life. New 
energy and greater wealth poured into a movement which ac- 
complished improvement in every part of the educational sys- 
tem from the primary school to the university. Progress in the 
South was much slower than in the North. Poverty, sparsity 
of population, and the costliness of a biracial system made for 
inadequate schools and undereducated people. Nevertheless, 


not since the days when Thomas Jefferson made public educa- 
tion a cardinal principle of Americanism had Southern leaders in 
and out of politics demanded so insistently the attainment of 
the "American ideal" of universal education. Furthermore, 
while much remained to be accomplished, the foundations for 
future success had been laid. When the century closed Southern 
education no longer constituted an entity with basic ideals and 
comprehensive programs peculiar to itself. The South was part 
of the national educational system. 

Common faith and common objectives made possible com- 
mon understanding and common endeavor between the sec- 
tions. The fight for better schools in the Southern states was 
a typical American epic which paralleled the experience of com- 
munities in the East and West. Northerners, knowing full 
well the nature of the battle, could easily understand and par- 
ticipate in the Southern movement. 

So much Northern energy, time, thought and money en- 
tered into the effort to improve Southern education that the 
movement is properly described as a * 'narrative of cooperation 
between Northern and Southern leaders." On many occasions 
men from all parts of the country sat down together in con- 
ferences for a full and frank discussion of educational prob- 
lems. The Atlanta Constitution asserted in 1889 that "more 
money has been spent by Northern men for collegiate educa- 
tion for negroes in Atlanta alone than any six Southern states 
have given to collegiate education for white boys. The North- 
ern Methodist Church alone is spending more money in the 
South for higher education than all the Southern States com- 
bined give to their colleges." Possibly the Constitution exag- 
gerated. But Northern philanthropy, notably the Congregational 
and Northern Methodist churches, and the John F. Slater 
Fund, founded in 1882, still carried the major load of Negro 
education. Even Southern white colleges, as Vanderbilt, Tulane, 
and Emory testified, rested heavily upon Northern financial 
support. The two most active workers in the field of Southern 
education were J. L. M. Curry, a Southerner who served as 
general agent of the Peabody Education Fund, and A. D. Mayo, 
a Northerner who in 1880 entered a long and valuable "minis- 
try of education in the South/' The identical nature of their 


work suggests that harmony of thought and action which 
existed between the sections on the subject of education. 

The "narrative of cooperation" reached its natural culmina- 
tion in a series of annual conferences for education in the South 
which began in 1898 at Capon Springs, West Virginia. Out- 
standing leaders from both sections participated in these meet- 
ings where problems were fully discussed and plans formulated. 
The conferences led to the organization of the Southern Edu- 
cational Board in 1901 and the General Education Board in 
1902, agencies which in the succeeding years were to achieve 
much in the South. The men who participated in this 
work R. C. Ogden, G. F. Peabody, Albert Shaw, D. C. 
Gilman, R. I. Mclver, E. A. Alderman, W. H. Page, J. D. 
Rockefeller, Jr., and others exemplified the new patriotism 
which brought about "an interweaving of minds and inter- 
mingling of hearts." * 

In a much deeper sense the economic interests of the South 
could not be separated from those of the country at large. In 
the background of national life many prosaic influences oper- 
ated to weld together the vast territories and regional varieties 
of the United States. The romantic souls who still insisted 
that Northerners and Southerners constituted two peoples 
with more points of difference than resemblance were prone to 
overlook such commonplace factors as the absence of tariff 
barriers, the uniformity of business methods and business 
ethics, the ease of transportation and communication, the stand- 
ardization of advertising, the easy flow of credit and the 
wide expanse of investments, the uniformity of currency and 
of weights and measures, the free movement of salesmen with 
only one language to speak and similarity of taste to satisfy, 
and the prevalent acceptance in all sections of the business man's 
objectives as desirable. Nevertheless these phenomena were the 
most potent influences of the day. They combined to effect a 
nationalizing of business which embraced the South as com- 
pletely as the North and West. 2 

1 See Schlesinger, "Rise of the City," 160-201, for an account of the 
national revival in education. On the South see Knight, "Public Education 
in the South," 415-435, and Murphy, "Problems of the Present South," 
205-250. The many speeches, articles, and reports of Curry and Mayo are 
invaluable. The periodical literature continues to be useful. 

2 C/. I. M. Tarbeli, "The Nationalizing of Business" (New York, 1936). 


Every phase of Southern industry testified to the inter- 
locking dependence of economic activity. If the Louisiana 
sugar farmers raised a crop worth millions annually, the 
money was paid out as rapidly as received and percolated into 
every state of the Union into Kentucky and Missouri for 
mules, into Pennsylvania for oil and coal, into Iowa and 
Kansas for oats, corn and hay, into Minnesota and the Dakotas 
for wheat, into Illinois for meat, into Wisconsin for butter, 
milk and cheese, into Ohio and Illinois for wagons, carriages, 
and agricultural implements, into Massachusetts for shoes, and 
into New York and Pennsylvania for clothing. 3 The eight 
billions of dollars which the South received in payment for her 
cotton crop in the years from 1865 to 1900 explained in part 
her rapid recuperation. But it also had a direct bearing on 
the growth of financial centers in New York and Philadelphia, 
and kept many a New England mill and Mid- Western farm 
busily engaged in manufacturing goods and raising food which 
the South consumed. 4 Even the localizing of cotton manu- 
factures in the Piedmont created connecting links as significant 
as the more publicized rivalry of the sections. The flow of New 
England capital into the South after 1890 did not mean the 
destruction of the industry in the older section. It meant a 
further specialization in which mills under the same owner- 
ship would turn out in the South products unlike those in the 
North. Thus Augusta might be considered a complement of 
New Bedford and Charlotte of Lowell. As one observer 
noted, "Pennsylvania declines in cotton but, if the competi- 
tion of North Carolina silences its spindles, the soft yarns of 
that state supply its hosiery looms." 5 Or again, "The sheetings 
and print cloths of the South are consumed in Northern homes 
and Southern yarns are woven on Pennsylvania looms and 
made into hosiery on New York and Pennsylvania frames." 6 
A new occupation appeared, that of middleman between the 
sections, and more than one Yankee and Southerner found 

3 W. C. Stubbs, in "The South in the Building of the Nation," VI, 85-^6. 

4 Edmonds, "South's Redemption/' 26-28; Hoke Smith, "Disastrous 
Effects of the Force Bill," Forum, XIII (1892), 692. 

5 V. S. Clark, in "The South in the Building of the Nation/ 1 VI, 302- 

6 Eleventh Census (1890), "Manufactures," part III, 172. 


profitable employment sitting on the boards of cotton mills 
North and South. 7 

Other industries likewise demonstrated that complexity and 
diversification resulted in a closer relation with the other por- 
tions of the country. The story of iron and steel in the Bir- 
mingham-Chattanooga district changed into a narrative of ever 
greater combination leading to final inclusion in the vast cor- 
porations that had their headquarters in Pittsburgh. 8 The trend 
in tobacco manufactures was toward concentration of owner- 
ship and the creation of one of the country's greatest trusts, 
with the South j s wealthiest individual, James Buchanan Duke, 
playing the dominant role. 9 Everywhere throughout the South 
the influence of expanding markets and broader contacts was in 
evidence. The railroad net expanded while major consolida- 
tions produced a few great systems which gave stability and 
permanence to the Southern transportation system. 10 The 
activity of the banking house of J. P. Morgan indicated the 
absorption of the South in national economy as did the spread 
of chain stores whose red front architecture told the American 
he was as much at home in Mobile and Dallas as in Sacramento, 
Des Moines and Hartford. 

The South remained basically agricultural, and agriculture 
was seriously depressed throughout the nineties. Nevertheless 
the ills of the South in this respect were the ills of the nation 
at large. Falling prices, maladjustment in production, defective 
farm credit, and increasing tenancy were in a sense problems 
that brought together farmers of all sections of the country 
in a community of interest. 11 Furthermore important progres- 
sive steps were taken in agricultural education, and most of 
these were made in harmony with Northern influences. Equally 
significant was the spread of Southern farm journals and the 
interchange of editorial opinion with the journals of the Mid- 
West. 12 

7 Various biographical sketches in Lamb's "Textiles." 

8 Armes, "Coal and Iron in Alabama," passim. 

9 Boyd, "Story of Durham," 95, 129. 

10 Bruce, "New South," 286; U. B. Phillips, in "The South in the 
Building of the Nation," VI, 311. 

11 J. D. Hicks, "The Populist Revolt" (Minneapolis, 1931). 

12 Cf. the comment of R. H. Edmonds, "Facts about the South" (Balti- 
more, 1894), 29-30. 


An important new feature in the agricultural situation was 
the development of truck farming for Northern markets. 
Changes in the nation's dietary habits, the extension of trans- 
portation facilities, the invention of the refrigerator car, and 
a longer growing season combined to give the South a lucrative 
industry which united it more intimately with the North. 
The trucking district extended along the coast from the eastern 
shore of Maryland and Virginia through the Carolinas into 
Florida and thence along the Gulf of Mexico into Texas. Balti- 
more, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile 
and Galveston were among the cities which profited as ship- 
ping centers of this produce. Various districts specialized in 
green vegetables, potatoes, onions, peanuts, strawberries, 
peaches, citrus fruits and melons. The South by 1900 had be- 
come "the market garden of the North," and another economic 
bond had been established between the sections. 13 

Apart from the movement of business men, intersectional 
migration remained chiefly a matter of travel southward for 
health and recreation. The winter resorts of the South Atlantic 
region increased steadily in popularity. Florida developed 
so rapidly that the large number of rich and middle-class visi- 
tors who annually sought pleasure and relaxation in its semi- 
tropical climate profoundly changed its social, political and 
economic life. On the other hand, the continued efforts of 
railroad companies and state and local agencies to attract 
settlers to the agricultural areas of the South met with slight 
success. 14 The census of 1900 did show a larger percentage of 
newcomers than that of 1890, but the figures were insignificant 
when compared both with the immigrants who settled in the 
North and West and with the number of Southerners who 
were lured to the metropolitan centers of the Northeast and 
Mid- West. 15 Nevertheless it can be said that the Northerners 
who made their living in the South as business men and col- 
lege professors exercised an influence greater than their num- 
bers while Southerners found no door closed to them in the 

13 Bruce, "New South," 63-77. 

14 W, L. Fleming, "Immigration to the Southern States/* Political Science 
Quarterly, XX (1905), 276-297. See as typical Illinois Central Railroad, 
"Homeseekers' Guide for 1895." 

15 Twelfth Census (1900), "Population," I, cxxvi-cxxviii. 


North. Yankees in the South for the most part conformed 
with the prevailing attitude of the community. But in the North 
it was an asset for the Southerner to treat his origin with 
pride. To be of the South was, to say the least, a social asset 
which few Southerners resident in the North failed to appre- 

An examination of the South in 1898 would still reveal 
a predominantly agricultural people living in a relatively 
sparsely settled country. Vast proportions of the population 
lived in poverty and isolation. Every index of wealth and 
culture revealed the Southern states below the average of the 
Union. Progress in the main had been in other fields than 
agriculture. The advancing South stood in stark contrast to 
the South of social wastage and unchanging ways. No traveler 
could miss the conflicting patterns. On one page he would note 
the town "with mills and shops and paved streets and electric 
lights/' "well-maintained schools," "men who have wider range 
of activities and women who have more clothes," "the spread 
of well-being," and "the quickening of the intellectual life." 
On the next page a dismal picture would appear of unkempt 
farms on which "the general structure of life is the same 
a dull succession of the seasons where agriculture is practised in 
old-fashioned ways, where weary housewives show resignation 
rather than contentment and where ignorance has become satis- 
fied with itself." 16 

The rural South was far from being progressive and it was 
here that poverty and isolation erected barriers against the 
currents of national life. The problem was not one of living 
antagonisms to the Union. Not bitterness but loneliness caused 
memories of the old to linger and prevented the infusion of 
the new. Ministers of the old gospel could present to such people 
liberalism as a Yankee menace. Politicians of the dominant 
party could treat them as citizens of a section. Men and 
women who represented the old order of things could "incul- 
cate social and political principles alien to American ideals." 1T 
Nevertheless the reactionary influences were spent impulses 

16 W. H. Page, "The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths" (New York, 
1902), 109, no, 116. 

1T W. P. Trent, "Dominant Forces in Southern Life," Atlantic Monthly, 
LXXIX (1897), 50-51; Page, op. cit. f 134-142. 


fighting a losing battle with the constructive forces of industry 
and education. The rich potentialities of Southern life could 
be realized only if the section adjusted itself to modern ways. 18 
The rejuvenation of North Carolina, once "a valley of humilia- 
tion between two mountains of conceit," the careers within the 
South of Curry, Tompkins, Aycock and Harris, and the 
achievements on the national stage of Duke, Woodrow Wilson 
and W. H. Page, testified to the fact that wealth and leader- 
ship came to the communities and individuals that were in 
harmony with the major trends of national life. 19 

Men and women of irreconcilable temper survived in both 
the North and South. Once they had found in the divergent 
interests of the sections fertile ground for advancing their 
programs of suspicion and distrust. But the new age gave little 
encouragement to their outworn attitude. The Southern states 
no longer had any common object to pursue aggressively against 
the interests of the nation. The North could in no realistic 
sense picture the South as a menace to its life. The irreconcil- 
ables were rendered insignificant. The only outlets for their 
venom were the relatively harmless activities of insulting the 
heroes of the other section, founding historical societies on 
narrow bases, and vexing the writers of history textbooks. 
Even the hatred of the opposing section no longer implied 
hatred of the Union. The tradition of past antagonism could 
not retard in either section the development of common pride 
in a common country. 

Nevertheless the loyalty which both professed to the re- 
united nation was marked by a fundamental difference in at- 
titude. Northerners were prone to think of their section as 
being more characteristically American than any other part of 
the Union. Southerners thought of Dixie as a unit within a 
larger unit. Yet even this attitude was not 'antagonistic to the 
new nationalism. The patriotism of locality is as firm a base 
upon which to build a broad love for the nation as the Northern 

18 Cf. H. W. Odum, "An American Epoch" (New York, 1930), 327, and 
Bruce, "New South," 421-435. 

w Cf. C H. Poe, "The Rebound of the Upland South," World's Work, 
XIV, (1907), 8961-8978; Curry, "Address in Charleston, S. C., May 12, 
1889" ; Alderman, "Memorial Address on the Life of J. L. M. Curry" and 
Hendrick, "Training of an American/*- 


tendency to extol the greater at the expense of the lesser. In 
fact, one of Dixie's major contributions to the new patriotism 
was its insistence that a valid nationalism could be premised 
only upon respect for and conservation of properly integrated 
variations in regional culture. This in a sense had been the 
Southern cause in the Civil War. Its survival was a tribute to 
Southern success in resisting an exclusively Northern formula- 
tion of Americanism. 20 

The varied threads of reconciliation had woven their gar- 
ment of reunion when the outbreak of the war with Spain 
advertised the fact that the people of the United States were 
a nation. Protestations of loyalty on the part of Confederate 
veterans had commonly been accompanied by assertions that, 
if the war cloud again hovered above the country, the former 
boys in gray would rally as proudly in defense of the Stars and 
Stripes as did the wearers of the blue. The Spanish-American 
war demonstrated their sincerity and in doing so completed the 
revolution in sentiment through which the generation had 
passed. For a time all people within the country felt the 
electrifying thrill of a common purpose. When it subsided 
a sense of nationality had been rediscovered, based upon con- 
sciousness of national strength and unity. 

The South at once responded to the national excitement 
which followed the sinking of the Maine. The first active 
movement of the regular army was the mobilization of troops 
in Southern centers. Two of the four major-generals appointed 
from civil life were veterans of the Confederate army, Fitz- 
hugh Lee and "Fighting Joe" Wheeler. This was recognition 
of a fact that Southerners proudly proclaimed, that "upon any 
battlefield of the war Confederate veterans and their sons will 
be seen upholding the national honor and guarding the coun- 
try's safety with all the steadiness and resolution that char- 
acterized them in the early sixties." 21 When the blood of 
the two sections was shed in common it was only natural 
for the country to fed that, as the Confederate Survivors' 
Association declared in their Charleston meeting of 1899, 

20 Cf. on this point B. B. Kendrick and A. M. Arnett, "The South Looks 
at Its Past" (Chapel Hill, 1935), and H. W. Odum, "Southern Regions" 
(Chapel Hill, 1936). 

^Richmond Times, as quoted in Public Opinion, XXIV (1898), 326. 


"These dead, at least, belong to us all." 22 The unofficial 
laureates of the American countryside again felt their muse 
inspired. From their voluminous production, which filled the 
magazines and newspapers of the time, one can gain sure in- 
sight into the popular frame of mind. The theme is unvaried. 
The foes of bygone days were friends. President McKinley 
made the final gesture when at Atlanta in 1898 he affirmed the 
care of Confederate graves to be a national duty. 28 

The youngest boy who could have carried arms at Gettysburg 
was a man of fifty when the century closed while those who 
remembered "Bloody Kansas" were in their sixties. By far 
the greater portion of the generation which had listened with 
awe while the guns boomed in Virginia and the ships of war 
steamed on the Mississippi slept in silent graves in which the 
issues for which they had contended were buried with them. 
The old had given way to the new. Around the lingering sur- 
vivors pressed eager youth. Slowly the bent figures of the past 
took their leave. Behind them stretched in mellow retrospect 
a record of heroic war and greater peace. No discontent ac- 
companied their departure. Reconciled themselves, they left a 
heritage of complete adjustment to the conditions which the 
war had brought. 

Greater than sacrifice on the field was this victory of peace. 
How different it would have been had the generation of the 
war died unreconciled and bequeathed to children the antip- 
athies of their lives ! Then would the task of reunion have been 
complicated beyond the hope of solution, for nothing is more 
ineradicable than hatreds that are inherited. Americans reg- 
istered one of their noblest achievements when within a single 
generation true peace had come to those who had been at war. 

22 Confederate Veteran, V (1899), 246. 

23 See, as typical of Southern opinion, the remarks of S. D. Lee, in 
"Confederate Military History/* 360-368. 


ABBOTT, LYMAN, deplores wide- 
spread ill will, 13 

Adams, Charles Francis, 92; on 
Lee, 252, 253; on Negro prob- 
lem, 296 

Adams, Charles Francis, Jr., 99 

Adams, Henry, on Greeley, 95 

Adams, Rev. Dr. William, urges 
punishment of South, 12, 13 

Agriculture, decentralized in 
South, 145-149; depressed in 
nineties, 302; development of 
truck farming, 303 

Aiken, Gov. William, 165 

Alcorn, J. L., 123 

Alden, H. M., 226, 227 

Alderman, E. A., 300 

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 226, 228, 

Aldrich, Truman H., in Birming- 
ham, 181 

Alexander, E. P., 156 

Alger, Horatio, 174 

Allen, James Lane, work of, 205, 
206, 208-210, 222, 223, 225, 235 

Allston, Bessie, her diary quoted, 
41, 42 

Altshler, Joseph A., work of, 232, 

American Missionary Association, 

its work in the South, 166 
Anderson, John, enjoying fruits 

of victory, 3, 4; his visit to 

Tennessee, 44, 45 
Andersonville, 49, 50, 52, 53 
Andrew, John, Governor of Mas- 
sachusetts, charitable to South, 

Andrews, Sidney, his "South since 

the War," 16, 17, 20 
Appletons', reporting Southern 

scenes, 133 
Armstrong, S. C, founds Hamp- 

ton Institute, 166, 167; on Negro 
problem, 296 

Arthur, Chester A., 271, 272; his 
first message to Congress, 265 

Atkinson, Edward, cotton econo- 
mist, 188; on the Negro prob- 
lem, 296 

Atlanta, forges ahead, 185, 186; 
exposition at, 187 

Atlanta Constitution, 271, 278; a 
leader, 186, 193, 194; Negro 
folklore in, 205 ; on Southern 
writer, 221; and Harris, 227; 
on education, 299 

Atlanta University, founded, 166, 

Atlantic Monthly, reporting South- 
ern scenes, 133; Harrison's 
letters in, 188; and Southern 
literature, 225-228 

Avary, Mrs., on Lincoln, 255 

Aycock, Charles B., boyhood an- 
ecdote of, 175; in North Caro- 
lina, 286; an important figure, 

BAGBY, GEORGE, work of, 204, 207 

Baptist Church, division of, 59 ; 
its missionary work, 62-64; 
fails in reconciliation, 66 

Barlow, Francis C., 256 

Bartlett, Gen. Francis, at centen- 
nial observances, 135 

Barton, W. E,, work of, 232 

Baskerville, W. M., work of, 218, 

Beck, James, quoted, 83; and 
amnesty bill, 124, 125 

Beecher, Henry Ward, advises 
forgiveness, 6; his distrust of 
slaveholders, 22, 23, 25; on rec- 
onciliation, 55, 56, 270 

Belasco, David, 233 


Benjamin, Judah P., quoted, 30 

Beveridge, Albert J., 264; win- 
ning his spurs, 267 

Bigelpw, Gov., at Charleston, 258 

Birmingham, industrial promo- 
tions in, 181, 182, 184 

Blackburn, J. S,, his "New School 
History," 58 

Blaine, James G., 85, 88, 99, 129; 
and Sumner, 92; fraternizing 
with Hill, 1 06; comments on 
Hayes, 107; hostile to Demo- 
crats, 1 08, 109; his gesture of 
friendship, 268 ; vulnerable, 269- 
271; attacks South, 294 

Bledsoe, A. T., 152, 222; editor 
Southern Review, 55, 199 ; con- 
demns Draper's book, 57; in 
obscurity, 200 

"Bloody shirt" policies, 74-84, 88, 
91-98, 101, 103, 107-113 

Bonner, Sherwood, her dialect 
poems, 201-203, 224, 225, 228 

Booth, John Wilkes, 12 

Boston, commemorates Bunker 
Hill, 135, 136 

Boston Daily Advertiser, 16, 52, 
120, 267 

Boston Globe, and Harris, 227 

Boston Journal f propaganda of, 

Boston Post, and Harris, 227 

Boyle, Virginia Frazer, work of, 
204, 206 

Bragg, Gen. E. S., seconds Cleve- 
land's nomination, 266 

Breckenridge, John C., 72 

Bristow, B. L, 120 

Brooks, Phillips, in a thanksgiv- 
ing service, n; and Columbia, 

Brooks, Preston S., 92; and 
Sumner, 267 

Brown, Joseph C., 123 

Bruce, Charles, 37 

Bruce, P. A., and Negro problem, 


Bryan, Guy, and Hayes, 100 
Bryant, William Cullen, 97 
Bryce, James, on Negro prob- 
lem, 69, 296; on Lodge bill, 

Buell, C. C., editor of Scribner's, 


Bullock, R. K, 123 
Burlingame, E. W., 227 
Butler, B. F., 88; his amnesty 

bill, 126 

CABLE, GEORGE W., work of, 203- 
207, 222, 223, 233; protests 
treatment of Negro, 294 

Caldwell, Joseph P., editor Char- 
lotte Observer, 186 

Cameron, Agnus, 108, 109 

Cameron, Senator, 88; and Lodge 
bill, 280 

Campbell, 191 

Carnegie, Andrew, 191 

Cattle industry, rise of, 160 

Century Magazine, and Page, 216; 
a defender of nationalism, 221- 
227; its articles on Civil War, 
247, 248; Gilder's campaign in, 

Chamberlain, Gov., at centennial 
observances, 135 

Chambers, Robert, work of, 232 

Champney, J. Wells, tours South, 
131 ; illustrates Great South 
series, 222 

Charleston, returns Northern flag, 
134, 135; and Garfield's death, 
142; its boom m phosphate 
rock, 178; visit of Connecticut 
troops to, 258 

Charleston News, 36, 149, 180 

Charlotte Observer, 186 

Chattanooga, industrial promo- 
tions in, 181, 182, 184 

Chicago Inter-Ocean, and Harris, 

Chicago Tribune, 16; and Davis, 
53 ; and Liberal movement, 92 

Chickamauga, reunion at, 257, 
260, 261 

Chopin, Kate, work of, 204 

Churches. See Religion 

Cincinnati Commercial, 73, 258, 

Cincinnati Daily Gazette, propa- 
ganda of, ii 

Civil War, sectional hostility fol- 
lowing, 4, 5, 8 ; fruits of victory, 


8, 9; legacy of, 15; fought by 
amateurs, 30; persists in men's 
minds, 45-49; political practice 
following, 72; broadens Ameri- 
can themes, 196 

Clay, C. C, 32; quoted, 37, 38 

Clemenceau, Georges, comments 
on Civil War, 7, 10, 78 

Cleveland, Grover, 264, 266; his 
fight for honest government, 
269; his administration, 271- 
274, 277 

Clews, Henry, his Southern in- 
vestments, 158, 159 

Coit, Samuel, 180 

Colfax, Schuyler, and amnesty 
bill, 126 

Columbia (S.C)> its destruction 
a bone of contention, 49, 50; 
growth of, 184, 185 

Commercial and Financial Chron- 
icle, its conciliation policy, 6; 
notes business changes in South, 
147, 154; criticizes financial 
dealings, 159 

Compromise of 1877, 100-103 

Confederates. See South, the 

Congregational Church, and 
Southern education, 299 

Congress, U. S., investigates Co- 
lumbia controversy, 50; and 
general amnesty, 122-129 ; con- 
tributes to New Orleans Expo- 
sition, 187; and Chickamauga 
celebration, 260; control of, 
264; fails to pass Federal elec- 
tion bill, 279-281. See also 
Representatives, House of 

Conkling, Roscoe, 85, 88; an ar- 
dent Republican, 108; and am- 
nesty bill, 125 

Cooke, John Esten, novelist, 198, 
199, 225 

Cooper, Edward, 191 

Copperheadism, 77 

Cosmopolitan, founded, 226 

Cotton Centennial Exposition 

Cotton trade, problems of, 154, 
155; growth in mills, 178, 179, 
182, 184 

Cox, Jacob D., 92 

Craven, Col. John J., and Davis, 

5 1 

Crim, Matt, work of, 204 

Critic, 227 

Curry, J. L. M., agent of Pea- 
body Fund, 165, 170, 299, 305; 
directs South' s adjustment, 174; 
his address at Richmond, 242, 

Curtis, G. W., of Harper's Weekly, 

55> 94, 95, 226, 266; supports 

a Democrat, 270; on Negro 

vote, 278 
Custer, Gen. G. A., 54, 55 

DABNEY, ROBERT L., theologian, 
66, 67 

Dana, Charles A., 97, 227 

Davis, David, 92 

Davis, Jefferson, 122, 127, 189, 
244, 245, 265; demand for his 
hanging, 14, 91, 99; imprisoned, 
38, 50-52; his olive branch re- 
fused, 52, 53; Stephens and, 
106; appreciates Northern gen- 
erosity, 140, 141 ; death of, 194, 


Davis, Rebecca Harding, work 
of, 225 

Dawson, F. W., 170, 186; on 
Southern planter, 149, 150, 152; 
on "bayonet" bonds, 158 

De Bardeleben, his promotions 
in Alabama, 181 

DeBow, James, 169 

De Forest, J. W., work of, 229, 

De Leon, T. C., work of, 204 

Democratic party, its national 
composition, 72, 73; in election 
of 1868, 73, 74; and Republican 
"bloody shirt" policies, 74-84; 
its unwise tactics, 84, 85; its 
futile efforts at conciliation, 
85-91, 95-97; in election of 
1876, 97-101, 103, 107; Repub- 
lican quarrels with, 107-112; 
in 1880, 112, 113; Republican 
support of, 270, 271 

Dennett, J. R. } his letters in the 
Nation, 20 


Deshler, Charles D., work of, 

224, 225 
Dickinson, Anne E., abolitionist, 


Douglas, Stephen, 72 
Douglass, Frederick, raises note 

of protest, 291 
Downing, Fannie, her "Dixie," 

Draper, John W., his history of 

the war, 56, 57 
Drum, R. C, 274 
Du Bois, W. E. B., and Negro 

problem, 292, 293 
Duke, James Buchanan, tobacco 

manufacturer, 302, 305 
Durham, growth of, 184 
Dwight, Theodore, 180 

EARLY, JUBAL A., fraternizing 

with Blaine, 106 
Edmonds, Richard H., booster of 

Southern industry, 171 ; his 

"South's Redemption/' 190, 191 
Edmunds, Senator, and amnesty 

bill, 125 
Education, Southern, 162-166; of 

the Negro, 166, 167; revival of, 

Edwards, H. S., work of, 204, 

222, 225 

Eggleston, Edward, writing of, 

Eggleston, George Gary, 161; 
work of, 204, 225, 246 

Eliot, President, of Harvard, re- 
ceives Southerners, 136 

Elliott, Maud Howe, quoted, 22 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, quoted, 

II, 12 

English, Thomas Dunn, his dia- 
lect poems, 201 
Evarts, W. M., 269 


Farnsworth, Representative, sup- 
ports amnesty bill, 124 

Farragut, Admiral, 165 

Ferry, Senator, supports amnesty 
bill, 124 

Fessenden, W. P., 87, 88 

Field, Eugene, Republicanism of, 

268, 269 

Field, H. M., on the Negro, 296 
Finch, Francis Miles, his "Blue 

and the Gray," 118, 119 
Fish, Hamilton, 165 
Fisk University, founded, 166, 


Fitch, Clyde, 233 
Florida, its development as winter 

resort, 303 

Fontaine, F., work of, 204 
Foraker, Gov., 275, 276; attacks 

South, 294 
Forbes, J. M., accepts Democratic 

ticket, 271 

Forrest, Gen. N. B., 86, 120 
Forsyth, John, editor of Register, 

Frick, H. C, 180 

GARFIELD, JAMES A., 78, 265; 
indicts Sherman, 88; an ardent 
Republican, 108; and campaign 
of 1878, 111-113; assassinated, 
141, 142 

Garland, appointed to cabinet, 272 

Gee, Major John H., of Salisbury, 

General Amnesty Act (1872), 126 

General Education Board, organ- 
ized, 300 

Gettysburg, reunion at, 257-260- 

Gilder, Richard Watson, editor of 
Scribner's, 221-223, 22 6, 227, 
265, 266; his "Great Remem- 
brance," 247; his understanding 
of South, 294-296 

Gildersleeve, Basil L., on Negro 
problem, 292, 293 

Gillette, William, 233 

Gilman, D. C., 300 

Gladden, Washington, advises for- 
giveness, 6, 13; on Negro vote, 

Glass, Carter, on Negro vote, 286, 

Godkin, Edwin L., 266; claims Lee 
unfit, 14; supports Grant, 95, 
96; his criticism of pacification 
policy, 97-100; "under full sail 
of reform," 192 ; against Demo- 



cratic rule, 268; takes pro- 
gressive step, 270; on Negro 
vote, 278; his understanding of 
South, 294-296 

Goodrich, S. G., his "Pictorial 
History," 57 

Gordon, A. C., work of, 204 

Gordon, John B., judges Southern 
viewpoint, 70; strives to make 
good impression, 104, 105, 108; 
pleads for peace between sec- 
tions, 170; his "Reminiscences," 

Grady, Henry W., glories in Old 
South, 173; "paddling his own 
canoe," 175; friendly to North, 
1 80; edits Atlanta Constitution, 
186; pleads for reconciliation, 
I93> 194; monument to, 195; 
work of, 223; pays tribute to 
Lincoln, 255; on Negro prob- 
lem, 293 

Graham, Gov. W. A., 165 

Grand Army of the Republic, 
sponsors Memorial Day, 117; 
expanding influence of, 236- 
240, 243; protests action on 
flags, 274 

Grant, Ulysses S., 89, 108, 115; 
quoted, 35 ; in election of 1868, 
74; criticism of, 76, 77; cor- 
ruption under, 82, 90; Greeley's 
divergence from, 91; his futile 
administration, 96, 97; urges 
amnesty bill, 125 ; and Peabody 
Education Fund, 165; death of, 

Greeley, Horace, unpopular, 
urges amnesty, 91, 92; 
campaign of 1872, 92-98 

Gregg, William, 169 

Grey, Lord, quoted, 21, 22 

Grimes, J. W., 88 

HABBERTON, JOHN, work of, 231 
Hagood, Bishop A. G., 163, 167 
Hale, Representative, introduces 

amnesty bill, 125, 126 
Halstead, Murat, starts fresh cru- 
sade, 269; claims Constitution 
nullified, 276; attacks South, 

Hammett, Henry P., pioneer in- 
dustrialist, 170 

Hampton, Gen. Wade, and destruc- 
tion of Columbia, 49 ; advocating 
peace, 103, 170; at Auburn, 
105, 106; seeks fair play for 
Negro, in; directs South's 
adjustment, 174; his reminis- 
cences, 223 

Hampton Institute, founding of, 
1 66, 167 

Hancock, W. S., 113 

Hardy, Lady Duffus, her "Down 
South," 190 

Harper, Fletcher, 94 

Harper's Monthly f reporting 
Southern scenes, 133, 256; and 
Southern literature, 224-227, 

Harper's Weekly, 75, 80 ; describes 
conditions in South, 20; influ- 
ence of, 55 ; and Greely cam- 
paign, 94, 98, 99; over opti- 
mistic, 101 ; changes policy, 104, 
107, in; resumes old cudgels, 
113; on "pocket nerve," 187; 
Nash's cartoons in, 190; and 
Miss Bonner, 202; Republi- 
canism of, 225 ; its reunion car- 
toon, 258; believes "bloody 
shirt" abolished, 265; on Negro 
vote, 278 

Harris, Joel Chandler, quoted, 70 ; 
reverent toward Old South, 173 ; 
his rise to fame, 175; edits 
Atlanta Constitution, 186; com- 
mends Harrison's book, 189; 
and Grady, 194; his qualities 
as a writer, 198, 201-205, 207, 
208, 211, 212, 214-217, 220- 
227, 232, 233, 235 ; pays tribute 
to Lincoln, 255; wants Demo- 
cratic victory, 266; an important 
figure, 305 

Harrison, Benjamin, claims Con- 
stitution nullified, 276; election 
of, 277 

Harrison, Mrs. Burton, work of, 

Harrison, J. B., letters of,^ 188, 
189; portrays Southern attitude, 
294; on the Negro, 296 



Hart, A. B., on Negro problem, 


Harte, Bret, work of, 232 
Hay, John, 247 
Hayes, Rutherford B., 271, 272, 

275; campaign of, 97-101; as 

President, 101-104, 107-112 
Haygood, Atticus G., on Negro 

problem, 293 
Hayne, Paul Hamilton, poetry of, 

199, 200, 224, 228 
Herbert, Hilary A., 261 
Herne, James A., 233 
Hewitt, Abram S., 191 
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 

226, 235, 267; believes in 

North's leniency, 25 ; accepts 

Democratic ticket, 271; on the 

Negro, 295, 296 
Hill, Benjamin H., quoted, 72; 

his shrewd judgment, 93 ; seeks 

union between sections, 104 
Hill, D, H., editor Land We Love, 

Hoar, Senator, 77; and Negro 

problem, 279-281, 296 
Holden, W. W., 123 
Holland, Dr. J. G., editor of 

Scribner's, 131, 221, 222; on 

Negro problem, 296 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 22, 228, 

Hope, James Barren, his ode at 

Yorktown, 139, 142 
Howard, Bronson, 233 
Howard, Gen. O. O., at West 

Point, 256 

Howe, Julia Ward, 230, 231 
Howe, Maud, work of, 230, 231 
Howells, W. D., 226, 227, 229 
Huntingdon, Collis P., shipyards 

of, 185 
Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 153 

INDUSTRY, development of South- 
ern, 178-185, 301, 302 

Ingersoll, Robert, 99, 103 

Inman, John H., 161 

International Cotton Exposition 
(1881), 187 

International Review, Atkinson 
in, 188 

JACKSON, ANDREW, election of, 

Jefferson, Thomas, election of, 
271 ; educational leader, 299 

Jewett, Sarah Orne, work of, 232 

Johnson, Andrew, 81 ; his faith in 
Northern generosity, 5 ; tem- 
porarily unbalanced, 14 ; in field 
of Reconstruction, 21, 24; 
issues general pardon, 51, 52, 
122; failure to impeach, 87 

Johnson, Robert Underwood, and 
Page, 216; editor of Scribner's, 
221, 227 

Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., 49 

Johnston, Richard Malcolm, an 
obscure writer, 199; his work, 
201, 222-225; and Northern 
patronage, 204; his portrayal 
of Georgia life, 206 

Johnston, William Preston, 170; 
directs South' s adjustment, 174 

Jones, J. W., his "Confederate 
View," 48 

Journalism, relative to South, 130- 
133, 186-193. See also Litera- 

Julian, George W., 88; demands 
hanging of Davis, 14; with- 
draws from party, 91, 92; criti- 
cizes Republican methods, 112 

KELLEY, W. D., writing of, 191 

Kennedy, novelist, 198 

Keys, of Tennessee, 102 

King, Charles, work of, 229, 230 

King, Edward, 188; his "South- 
ern States/' 130-132, 151 ; his 
Great South series, 222 

King, Grace, work of, 204, 222, 

Knight, E. W., authority on edu- 
cation, 163 

Knox, Thomas W., his "Camp 
Fire and Cotton Field," 9 

LAMAR, L. Q. C, in silver crisis, 
104; his letter to Davis, 106; 
criticized by Phillips, 108; and 
"bloody shirt/' 113; in Con- 
gress, 127-129, 142; directs 
South's adjustment, 174; Su- 


preme Court Justice, 267; in 
cabinet, 272 

Land We Love, The, founded, 

Lanier, Sidney, quoted, 31, 32; 
his "Tiger Lilies," 35; on per- 
secution of Davis, 51; his 
Cantata for 1876 celebration, 
139; notes rise of small farmer, 
145 ; Northern sympathy for, 
199; his brief life, 200; his 
work, 222, 224, 227 

Le Conte, Joseph, and Southern 
nationalism, 29, 30 

Lee, Fitzhugh, 306; in Boston, 

Lee, Robert E., chosen president 
of Washington College, 14, 15; 
statue to, 245; appraisal of, 

Leigh, Frances, viewpoint of, 37, 

Liberal Republican movement, 90- 


Lincoln, Abraham, desires to re- 
move war psychosis, 5; his 
mechanistic view, 10; interpreta- 
tion of his assassination, 11-13, 
50, 51 ; his moderate Reconstruc- 
tion government, 24; Southern 
hatred of, 53, 54; liberal with 
pardons, 122; influence of, 254, 
255, 271 

Lip pine ott's, reporting Southern 
scenes, 133 ; forming pattern of 
literature, 200 ; influence of, 223, 

Literature, of the South, 196-219; 
invades the North, 221-234. See 
also Journalism 

Lodge, Henry Cabot, at Faneuil 
Hall, 273 ; his Federal election 
bill, 279-281 

Logan, John A., 88; an ardent 
Republican, 108; and Memorial 
Day, 117 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 

Longstreet, Augustus B., humorist, 
198, 20 1 

Longstreet, Gen. James, 123 

Louisville Courier Journal, 186 

Louisville Presbytery, dissolved, 


Low, A. A., 1 80 

Lowell, James Russell, 226, 228; 
on Americanization, 23; on 
Greeley, 95; remains a Repub- 
lican, 97-99; his commemora- 
tion ode, 137, 142 

Loyal League, 46 

policy of mercy, 13 

McClure, A. K., writing of, 191 ; 
sympathetic to South, 294, 296 

McClure' s } founded, 226, 227; 
chambers in, 232 

McCulloch, Secretary of Treasury, 
80, 81 

McDonald, W. N., his "New 
School History/' 58 

McElwain, W. S., develops South- 
ern industry, 181 

Mclver, Charles D., career of, 


Mclver, R. I., 300 

McKinley, William, and G.A.R., 
240; his inaugural message, 
282; and care of Confederate 
graves, 307 

Magruder, Julia, work of, 204, 
209, 216 

Maine, sinking of, 306 

Manufacturers' Record, 171; so- 
licits Northern capital, 1 80; 
Taylor in, 191 

Matthews, Brander, 227 

Mayo, A. D., 167; his praise of 
the Negro, 295, 296; active in 
Southern education, 299 

Memorial Day, origin of, 1 16- 

Methodist Episcopal Church, dis- 
rupted, 58, 59; its missionary 
work, 62, 63; Republican, 6.6; 
discusses reunion, 65, 66; and 
Southern education, 299 

Meynardie, Florella, work of, 205 

Milner, John T., pioneer indus- 
trialist, 170 

Mobile Register, 76, 186 

Montgomery, demonstration at 
(1886), 244, 245 



Moore, J. W., work of, 204 
Morgan, A. T., 234 
Morgan, J. P., 302 
Morton, Levi P., 84, 88 
Moses, F. J., 123 
Munsey's, founded, 226 
Murfree, Mary Noailles, the work 

of, 202-205, 213, 225, 228 
Murphy, Edgar Gardener, on New 

South, 171 

NAST, THOMAS, cartoons of, 55, 
78, 80, 86, 94, 95, io7, 190, 270, 

Nation, 14; publishes Dennett 
letters, 20 ; its later moderation, 
23, in; and Davis, 52; de- 
scribes religious situation, 66; 
on Democrats, 76, 77; Godkin 
in, 97, 98; Republican, 98; over- 
optimistic, 101; on Republican 
platforms, in; and Gar field's 
death, 141 ; on Southern invest- 
ments, 159 ; its campaign against 
South, 192; on Negro vote, 
278, 293 ; Godkin's campaign in, 

National Anti-Slavery Standard, 
urges stern treatment of South, 


Negro, his new estate, 9, 42 ; con- 
ditions every Southern reaction, 
27 ; conviction of his inferiority, 
34; in Northern churches, 64, 
65; issue of his future, 67-69; 
and Republican party, 79, 80, 
87, 88; as a farm tenant, 145- 
148; education of, 166, 167; not 
permitted to vote in South, 276, 
278; problem of the, 283-297. 
See also Literature 

New Orleans, exposition at, 187; 
Northern troops visit, 257, 258 

New Orleans Democrat, 258 

Newport News, established, 185 

New York Evening Post, and 
Nordhoff, 132; starts new cam- 
paign, 270 

New York Herald, 19; publishes 
Southern articles, 130; and 
Nordhoff, 132 

New York Mercury, 258 

New York Sun, and Harris, 227 

New York Times, describes con- 
ditions in South, 20, 46; starts 
new campaign, 270; advises 
against fighting on Solid South, 

New York Tribune, 91, 150; de- 
scribes conditions in South, 20; 
and Liberal movement, 92; 
criticizes politicians, 115; on 
Memorial Day, 120, 121 ; and 
Pike, 132; warns against sec- 
tional hate, 134; Harrison's 
letters in, 188; starts new cam- 
paign, 269, 272 ; and Lodge bill, 

New York World, comments on 
Republican domination, 24 ; 
Cooke in, 200 

Nineteenth Century, founded by 
Simms, 199 

Nordhoff, Charles, his "Cotton 
States," 130, 132, 133, 151, 188 

Norfolk, growth of, 185 

North, the, speculates on sequel 
to war, 4-7; and fruits of vic- 
tory, 8-25 ; its idea of Southern 
unity, 26; South' s disdain for, 
29; distortion of South in, 36; 
believes prisoners mistreated, 
45-47; and Davis, 5o~54; 
sneered at by South, 54-58 ; and 
the religious controversy, 58- 
67; and future of the Negro, 
67-69; effect of journalism on, 
133; its economic strength, 152; 
finances railroad building, 156, 
157, 1 80; invests in Southern 
bonds, 157, 158; travels South, 
160, 161; industrial develop- 
ment in, 178; and Southern 
industry, 180-183 ; cooperates 
with South in expositions, 187; 
its view of South in eighties, 
188-193; intellectual interests 
in, 221-234; political beliefs of, 
264, 265; its interest in South- 
ern education, 299, 300. See also 
South, the 

North American Review, quoted, 

Norton, Charles Eliot, 226; be- 



lieves peace genuine, 136; on 
the Negro problem, 296 

O'CONNOR, CHARLES, attorney for 

Davis, 51 

Ogden, R. C, 300 
Olmsted, F. L., 27, 188, 191 

toward Old South, 173, 175; 
deplores lack of literature, 198; 
works unploughed field, 199; 
his praise of Russell, 201 ; his 
work, 203-208, 211-216, 222- 
225, 227, 232, 233, 235 ; on the 
Negro problem, 292, 293 

Page, Walter Hines, 300; and 
beliefs of his environment, 29; 
his view of true South, 171, 
172, 191 ; criticizes older gener- 
ation, 173; work of, 206, 217, 
218, 227; and Negro suffrage, 
285; a national figure, 305 

Peabody, George, his philanthropy, 
164, 166, 300 

Peabody Education Fund, es- 
tablishment of, 164-166 

Perkins, George W., 180 

Philadelphia, Centennial Exhibi- 
tion at (1876), 134, 138, 139, 

Philadelphia Convention, fiasco of, 
85, 86 

Philadelphia Inquirer, and Lodge 
bill, 280, 281 

Philadelphia Record, 258 

Philadelphia Times, and Harris, 

Phillips, Wendell, comments on 
Lee's appointment, 14, 15; on 
Republican party, 108; lament 
of, 267; feels Negro's progress 
slow, 290 

Pike, J. S., his "Prostrate South/' 
130, 132, 151 

Pillow, Gen., 120 

Plantation, disintegration of the, 

Poe, Edgar Allan, 198 

Poetry, of Southern women, 40, 
41. See also Literature 

Poland, Representative, and am- 
nesty bill, 125 
Politics. See Democratic party; 

Republican party 
Pond, Major J. B., 227 
Porter, Annie, work of, 224 
Presbyterian Church, divided, 59; 
radicalism in, 60, 61 ; its mis- 
sionary work, 62; no recon- 
ciliation for, 65 
Preston, Margaret J., her "Beech- 

enbrook," 41 ; work of, 205 
Propaganda, regarding the South, 


Protestant Episcopal Church, sep- 
arated, 59; reunites, 64 
Pryor, Roger A... 35, 161 
Pryor, Mrs., on Lincoln, 255 
Pulitzer, Joseph, turns Democrat, 

QUACKENBOS, G. P., his history 
book, 57, 58 

RAILROADS, extension of, 156, 157, 
180, 185; consolidation of, 302 

Read, Opie, work of, 205 

Reconstruction, disorder worse 
than war, 24, 25; resistance to 
Republican program of, 82, 83, 

86, 89, 97, 98 

Redpath, James, observes Memo- 
rial Day, 116 

Reed, John C., his pamphlet, 138 

Reid, Whitelaw, his "After the 

War: a Southern Tour," 19, 20; 

supports Tilden, 98, 99 ; attacks 

South, 294 

Religion, controversies of, 58-67 
Representatives, House of, reports 
on prison conditions, 47. See 
also Congress, U. S. 
Republican party, nation's future 
mortgaged to, 9, 24; takes pro- 
prietary interest in Negro, 69, 

87, 88; splits national life, 72; 
glories in war, 73; in election 
of 1868, 73, 74; and "bloody 
shirt" policies, 74-84, 88, 91- 
98, 101, 103, 107-113; con- 
solidated, 87 ; and Liberal revolt, 
90-94; causes for persistence 


Republican party, (Continued) 

of "bloody shirt," 107-113; its 

agitation over Negro vote, 276, 

277 ; restored to power, 277-279 

Revolution, American, centennial 

celebrations of, 134-137 
Rhodes, J. F., believes in North's 

leniency, 25 

Richmond, growth of, 184, 185; 
exposition at, 187; demonstra- 
tion at (1890), 244, 245 
Riley, James Whitcomb, 227 
Robinson, S. T., work of, 231 
Rockefeller, John D., Jr., 300 
Rogers, James S., work of, 231 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., election 

of (1933), 271 

Roosevelt, Theodore, his early 
political creed, 264, 265, 267; 
restores flags, 274 
Russell, Irwin, his Negro poetry, 

2OI, 202, 209, 222 

Ryan, Father, his "Conquered 
Banner," 33, 176 

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and 
Lodge bill, 281 

St. Louis Republican, and Harris, 
227; and Cleveland, 274 

San Francisco Examiner, and 
Harris, 227 

Sanitary Commission, U. S., re- 
ports on Southern prisons, 46 

Schurz, Carl, 206; propaganda of, 
J 5 *6, 73; instigates Liberal 
Republican revolt, 90-93; votes 
for Hayes, 97, 99; his "New 
South," 189; supports a Demo- 
crat, 270; sympathetic toward 
South, 294, 296 

Scribner's Monthly Magazine, re- 
porting Southern scenes, 130, 
I3i> !33> 134; its criticism of 
South, 192; Lanier in, 200; 
Negro poems in, 201 ; exponent 
of new nationalism, 221225, 
227. See also Century Maga- 

Sears, Barnas, administers Pea- 
body Fund, 165 

Seattle Post, on Grady's speech, 

Sea well, Molly Elliott, work of, 

Semmes, Admiral, his personal 
narratives, 55 

Sewanee Review, founded by 
Trent, 219 

Seward, Senator, supports amnesty 
bill, 124 

Seymour, Gov., 74, 100 

Shaler, N. S., on the Negro, 296 

Shaw, Albert, 300 

Shaw, Robert Gould, 134, 135 

Sherman, John, 14, 272; quoted, 
76, 86, 87; indictment of, 88; 
in the Senate, 267 ; his absurd 
antics, 275, 276 

Sherman, Gen. W. T., believes 
in North's leniency, 25; his 
ravages in South, 49; his 
"Memoirs," 55 ; increasingly 
radical, 109, no; contributes 
to Atlanta exposition, 187; 
Grady and, 194; attacks South, 

Shields, Gen., 106 

Sickles, Gen., 260 

Simms, W. G., 198; and Trow- 
bridge, 19; founds Nineteenth 
Century } 199 ; biography of, 
218, 219; fosters distinctive 
Southern literature, 220, 221 

Slavery, its effect on the South, 

27. See also Negro 

Sloss, his promotions in Alabama, 

Smith, F. Hopkinson, work of, 
204, 222 

Somers, Robert, his "Southern 
States," 130, 151 

South, the, policy of North to- 
ward, 5-15, 22-25; faulty prop- 
aganda regarding, 15-22; phys- 
ically not a unit, 26, 27; effect 
of slavery on, 27; qualities of, 

28, 29; its disdain for North, 
29 ; its weary veterans, 30, 3 1 ; 
utter prostration of, 31; remak- 
ing of its society, 32-36; has 
little interest in politics, 36, 
37; unadjusted, 38, 43; poetry 
of, 40, 41 ; charged with bru- 
tality, 45-48; its hurtful mem- 



ories, 48, 49; and arrest of 
Davis, 50-53; its grievance 
against Lincoln, 53, 54; views 
of its writers, 55-57; its text- 
books, 57, 58; and religious 
controversies, 58-67 ; horrified 
at enfranchising of Negro, 67- 
69; carpetbag misrule in, 96; 
sends orators to North, 105, 
1 06; variety of penalties for, 
122; and general amnesty, 122- 
127; flood of publications rela- 
tive to, 130-133; its attitude 
towards centennials, 134-140; 
yellow fever in, 140, 141 ; 
mourns Garfield, 141, 142; fac- 
ing economic and social re- 
formation, 144, 145 ; disintegra- 
tion of plantations, 145-149; 
a period of self-appraisal in, 
150, 151; its economic contacts 
with North, 151-160; as health 
resort, 160, 161; school sys- 
tem in, 162-166; new activities 
of Northern churches in, 166, 
167; to solve own destiny, 168, 
169; viewpoint of New, 170- 
180; industrial transformation 
in, 177-185; rise of cities in, 
185, 186; series of expositions 
in, 187; Northern press and, 
188-195; literature of, 196- 
219; veterans' organizations in, 
241-246; political beliefs of, 
265; refuses suffrage to Negro, 
276, 278-282; and Negro prob- 
lem, 283-297; participates in 
educational revival, 298-300; 
and nationalizing of business, 
300, 301 ; basically agricultural, 
302-304; irreconcilable tempers 
in, 304, 305; in Spanish War, 
306, 307 

Southern Baptist Church, tenets 
of, 61, 64 

Southern Educational Board, or- 
ganized, 300 

Southern Exposition (1883), 187 

Southern Methodist Church, 
formed, 59, 60; its tenets, 61, 

Southern Presbyterian Church, 

formed, 59; its resolution of 
1862, 60; war against, 62-64 

Southern Review, 32, 48, 199; 
spokesman in Davis contro- 
versy, 52; on Lincoln, 54; 
channel of hatred, 55, 152 

Spanish-American War, 306, 307 

Spofford, Harriet Prescott, work 
of, 232 

Springfield Republican, and Lib- 
eral movement, 92; and King, 

Stanton, Edwin M., takes up 
prison question, 46; his charge 
against Davis, 50, 51 ; his church 
policy, 6 1 

Stephens, Alexander H., his 
"Compendium," 58; his letter 
to Davis, 1 06 

Stevens, Thaddeus, 79, 85, 88, 160 

Stevenson, R. R., his "Southern 
Side," 47, 48 

Stockton, Frank R., work of, 232 

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 209, 210 

"Struggles of Petroleum V. 
Nasby," propaganda of, 20, 21 

Stuart, A. H. H., 165 

Stuart, Ruth McEnery, work of, 
204, 222, 225 

Sumner, Charles, 88, 90 ; and 
Negro vote, 79, 81; reprimands 
Blaine, 92; and the amnesty 
bill, 125, 126; his death, 128; 
resolution of, 261, 262; and 
Brooks, 267 

TAYLOR, BAYARD, 227, 228 

Taylor, Frederick, writing of, 191 

Thomas, David, in Alabama, 181 

Thomas, Edwin, 181 

Thomas, Samuel, 181 

Thompson, John R., 161 

Thompson, Maurice, work of, 
204, 207, 223-225 

Thurman, Allen G., 267 

Tilden, Samuel JL, campaign of, 

Tillman, Benjamin F., 285, 286 

Timrod, Henry, 198, 228; per- 
sonifies Southern spirit, 33; 
fosters distinctive Southern lit- 
erature, 220 


Tompkins, D. A., 198; his histori- 
cal revision, 172, 173; "pad- 
dling his own canoe/' 175 ; buys 
Charlotte Observer, 186; his 
successful career, 305 

Tourgee, Albion W., work of, 
234, 235; attacks South, 294; 
on Negro problem, 296 

Trent, W. P., quoted, 217; work 
of, 218, 219 

Trowbridge, J. T., theme of his 
"South," 17-19, 35 

Truman, Benjamin C., his sym- 
pathy for South, 19, 20; on 
rebel soldiers, 35 

Trumbull, Lyman, 88, 92; and 
general amnesty, 123, 126; ac- 
cepts Democratic ticket, 271 

Turner, "Dick," of Libby Prison, 

Twain, Mark, 95, 227 

Tweed, W. M., 77 

241, 242, 246 

VALLANDIGHAM, C. L., 77, 78, 


Vance, Z. B., 115, 126, 127 
Vardaman, of Mississippi, 286 
Vincent, Rev. Dr., comments on 

assassination, 12 
Virginia, development of coal and 

iron industry in, 180, 181 
Virginias Magazine, 161 ; solicits 

Northern capital, 180 


York, 1 06 

Walker, Gov. D. S., quoted 35 
Warner, Charles Dudley, his pro- 
lific pen, 189, 225, 226 
Washington, Booker T., career of, 

175, 291, 292 

Washington Post, and Harris, 227 
Watterson, Henry, 174, 233; on 

the new age, 175; and Courier 
Journal, 186; and G.A.R., 239; 
eulogizes Lincoln, 255; defends 
Negro's disfranchisement, 293 

Webster, Daniel, 8 

Weeden, Howard, work of, 204 

Wheeler, Joseph, 306 

Whitman, Walt, quoted, 7; his 
view of South, 228 

Whittier, John Greenleaf, 103, 
141, 228 

Wilder, Gen. John T., his iron 
works, 181 

Willard, Emma, her "History of 
the United States," 57, 58 

Wilson, Henry, 265 ; his policy 
of forgiveness, 6; estimates 
Negro vote, 79 

Wilson, Woodrow, his view of 
South, 171, 173, 176; election 
of, 271 ; a national figure, 305 

Winder, Capt. R. B., of Ander- 
sonville, 46 

Winthrop, Robert C., 165; sup- 
ports good-will program, 6, 7; 
supports Grant, 95, 96; and 
Tilden, 97 ; his oration at York- 
town, 139; on the Negro prob- 
lem, 296 

Wirt, William, essayist, 198 

Wirz, Major Henry, execution 
of, 46, 47 

Wise, John S., 246, 255 

Woodrow, Dr., liberalism of, 66 

Woodville, Jennie, her dialect 
poems, 201, 224 

Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 
her contribution to Southern 
genre, 203, 216, 224 

Worcester, J. E., his "Elements 
of History," 57 

Yorktown, celebration at, 139 
Youth's Companion, and South- 
ern literature, 226, 227